The Lee University Lady Flames soccer team wrapped up its first year of Gulf South Conference competition Friday night with a 3-0 victory over visiting Shorter University.
Lee (11-3-1, 8-1-1 GSC) was the closest finisher to regular-season champion University of West Florida (9-0-1 GSC) with just three points separating the two squads.
It was senior night at the Lee Soccer Field and it was a senior combination that cracked the scoreboard. Leah Fortune took a pass from Ode Fulutudilu and delivered her ninth goal of the season in the 17th minute.
“I just want to recognize the quality of the senior class and how privileged I feel to have had the chance to work with them over the last few years,” said Lee head coach Matt Yelton. “They are all outstanding individuals and I’m honored to have had the chance to work with them.”
The seven senior members of the 2013 Lady Flames squad honored in a pre-game ceremony were Fortune, Fulutudilu, Danielle Ciabattone, Elizabeth Hagan, Debbie Rogers, Lauren Welch and Charlotte Canlett.
Fortune would symbolically pass the torch to freshman Summer Lanter in the 27th minute with a well-timed pass up the middle that Lanter tucked past the keeper for a 2-0 lead Lee would take into the halftime break.
Lanter would add to her team-leading goal total with her 11th of the season in the 68th minute following another assist by Fortune.
“We were a little disjointed in our performance tonight and while we had some good individual efforts, we never quite clicked and got going with our style of play,” admitted Yelton.” There are a lot of people that would say it’s a win, but I’m a coach who wants our team to play well and get the win. Tonight we only did one of the two.”
Lee beat Shorter (6-12-0, 2-8-0 GSC) in nearly every statistical category. The Lady Flames fired off 22 shots with eight of those on goal, while the defense held the Lady Hawks to eight total shots and two on goal. Lee tallied 10 corner kicks to Shorter’s two.
Haley Gribler recorded the season’s fifth clean sheet after turning back both shots faced. Taylor Hays faced eight shots for Shorter and recorded five saves.
The Lady Flames are scheduled to host Cumberland University Monday evening. The non-conference match is slated for a 7 p.m. start.
“We will have our hands full on Monday with Cumberland,” added Yelton. “They’re a team really on the upswing and we just need to focus on playing to our strengths, taking our chances and giving great effort. If we can do that over the next few weeks we can expect to be successful in our matches.”