Women’s soccer advances to ASUN championship

North Alabama women’s soccer plays top-seeded Lipscomb in Nashville Nov. 3 in the ASUN conference championship game. This will be UNA’s first ever Division I championship game.

Despite performance in the ASUN Conference, UNA is not eligible for the NCAA tournament due to the NCAA’s four-year division transition policy. The policy states a university cannot participate in NCAA tournaments for four years after a division transfer. This was implemented to make sure schools are focusing on an athlete’s educational needs rather than only their athletic potential.

The Lions defeated Kennesaw State 2-1 Friday in the ASUN Quarterfinals and then beat the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the Semifinals 3-0 on Sunday.

In their game against Kennesaw State, the Lions scored their first goal 29 minutes from freshman forward Anna Bove’ assisted by senior forward Kylie Huey. This was the team’s first goal since Oct. 12. No one scored for the remainder of the first half.

Huey scored a goal of her own with 25 minutes left in the game to put the Lions up 2-0. Kennesaw fought back with a single goal one minute later but could not score any more.

North Alabama secured the win 2-1 and advanced to the semifinals against NJIT. The Lions ended their previous game with NJIT in a 0-0 tie one week before.

Junior midfielder Tay Cavett scored first off a corner kick from junior midfielder Shelby Wall 22 minutes into the game. The first half remained uneventful after that.

The second half was free of scores until the NJIT goalkeeper missed a ball deflected back at her for an own goal with 16 minutes left in the game. Bove’ put the final nail in the coffin 10 minutes later with another goal securing the win 3-0.

That game placed North Alabama at an 11-8-1 record overall and sends the Lions to their seventh ever conference championship. They were 2-4 of tournament appearances in the Gulf South Conference Tournament in Division II, with their last wins in 2011 and 2015.

Lipscomb is 13-4-2 overall and currently on a five-game win streak. They defeated the No. 4 ranked Florida Gulf Coast University 1-0 in their tournament game Oct. 28. Lipscomb also defeated the Lions 10 days before that in a 2-0 win at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex, the same place where the championship game will be held.

Kickoff is Saturday at 6 p.m. in Lipscomb, Tenn.