Playing what coach Matt Yelton described as his team’s best soccer of the season, the No. 3-ranked Lee Lady Flames scored two goals in the opening three minutes en route to a convincing 6-0 win over No. 4 Indiana Wesleyan in the opening round of the Lady Flames Classic on Thursday evening.
Combined with No. 2 Azusa Pacific’s 2-1 triumph over No. 10 William Carey, the Lady Flames and Cougars will play for what could be called the Classic’s championship on Saturday at 7 p.m. (EDT). William Carey and Indiana Wesleyan will kick off Saturday’s play at 5.
“This was a great win for us tonight against a quality team,” said Yelton. “It would be really difficult to pick out just one outstanding player. We were so good in so many different areas.”
For the most part, Lee’s scoring was evenly divided. Freshman Benedicte Christensen put the Lady Flames on top with just 44 seconds gone off the scoreboard clock. Less than three minutes later freshman Ashley Aragona stunned the Wildcats with an up-close goal off a well-executed cross by Jamie Achten,
The goals seemed to pump more life into the Lee attack and quickly calmed a fired-up IWU bench. But the first half damage was not complete. At the 27:52 mark, Katrine Korsgaard picked up another excellent delivery from Achten and drilled a hard smash past the Wildcat keeper.
Lightning in the Cleveland area delayed the start of the second half by some 20 minutes, but the rain and lightning could not cool the Lady Flames on this evening. Freshman Ode Fulutudilu tallied back-to-back goals. The first came in the 71st minute. Danielle Ciabattone got the assist. Less than a minute later Fulutudilu scored again on an unassisted goal.
The final tally was recorded by Chelsea Eisnaugle. She ripped a hard shot from 30 yards out. It was deflected by an IWU defender before settling into the back of the net.
Lee’s hot-shooting attack took 17 attempts at the net. Thirteen were on target. IWU’s Jamie Speidel (four saves) and Beth Anne Novak (2 saves) combined to handle the goalkeeping duties
On the other hand, the Wildcats were able to fire only 10 shots against Lee’s stingy defense. Six of the shots were on the mark but Lee keeper Leah Wilson had four saves before leaving with an injury and Kristi Koudelka came on to record two saves.
“I believe that Indiana Wesleyan has an excellent team and there is no doubt they will be right back in the thick of things as the season goes on,” said Yelton in closing. “I certainly see our team improving, but we have to continue to focus on things game by game.”
Azusa Pacific 2,
William Carey 1
Azusa Pacific University ranked No. 2 in the weekly NAIA poll, improved to 4-0-1 with a 2-1 victory over William Carey University (4-1-2) in the opening round of the Lee Lady Flames Classic on Thursday evening.
The Cougars moved on top 1-0 with less than five minutes remaining in the first half. Emily Wood scored the goal on an assist from Heidi Witschi.
The lead grew to 2-0 in the 80th minute when Molly Lavin tallied on a header off a corner kick. Brittany Flanagan got the assist. With just over three minutes remaining in the contest Gemma Metcalfe scored for the Hatters on a bicycle kick past the keeper. Chelsea Granger assisted on the goal.
Azusa fired 27 shots but only nine were on target. William Carey keeper Jackie DeNova recorded six saves.
The Hatters were able get off only eight shots against the Cougar defense and two were on goal. Azusa keeper Michelle Wieland had one save.