The Lady Flames struck early at the 4:38 mark when senior Leah Fortune tallied her ninth assist of the year, serving a beautiful ball into the box off of a corner kick to set up Laura Thacker with her ninth goal of the season.
The second goal came just five minutes later (9:57) when freshman Summer Lanter eluded several defenders to notch her team-leading 12th goal of the campaign. Lanter controlled the ball at midfield and used her speed and an array of ball-handling moves to extend the Lady Flames advantage.
The final goal came from a pair of seniors as Ode Fulutudilu hooked up with Fortune in the 74th minute. Fortune received the cross and pivoted to her left foot before drilling her 10th goal of the season into the back of the net to help seal the victory.
“I thought we were very good tonight. It was a top-notch performance out of our group and we were outstanding for long stretches in the game,” noted head coach Matt Yelton.
Cumberland came in ranked sixth in the latest NAIA poll, having lost only once on the year entering tonight’s match.
“The best part about tonight’s performance is that it was against an exceptionally good team,” remarked Yelton. “Cumberland is an extremely well coached team, and they will have a lot of success in the postseason.”
The defense of the Lady Flames held Cumberland to just seven shots in the match and only one in the second half. Four of the shots were on frame. The Lee offensive tallied 14 shots and put five on mark. The Bulldogs did hold a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Lee keeper Haley Gribler registered four saves in keeping the clean slate. The freshman finishes the regular season with six shutouts and has given up just 16 goals in 16 matches. Cumberland keeper Lindsay Kitson recorded two saves.
“I think the big difference for us tonight from past performances was that our movement and combination play was just so good for long stretches that we were able to keep possession of the ball,” allowed Yelton. “(If) we play like that we can have a lot of success and I have every reason to expect to be successful over the next few weeks.”
The victory gives Lee a 12-3-1 finish in its first season of NCAA Division II play. Yelton’s club finished second behind third-ranked West Florida in the Gulf South Conference. The loss drops the Bulldogs to 13-2-1 on the year.
Next up for the Lady Flames is the National Christian College Athletic Association regional tournament, which will be played at the Lee soccer field beginning Nov. 22. The winner will move on to the NCCAA national tournament in Kissimmee, Fla., beginning Dec. 2.