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Elin Hansson
Elin Hansson was named both Freshman of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Soccer Wins South Atlantic Conference Title, Throttle 12th Ranked Catawba

The Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Soccer Team captured their eighth SAC regular season title on Wednesday with their 4-1 win over No. 12 Catawba at the Moretz Sports Athletic Campus. Elin Hansson scored her 10th goal of the season, then assisted on a Kara Gavaghan goal later in the first half to give the Bears a 2-0 lead at half. Evan O’Leary and Abbie Biddle added second half goals to clinch the title for the Bears. The win will also give the Bears the No. 1 seed in the SAC Tournament that starts on Saturday.

Catawba entered the match only allowing one goal during conference play but the Bears struck for two goals in the first half. Hansson got the Bears on the board first in the 30th minute scoring a goal for the fifth straight game. Hansson and O’Leary teamed up for a perfect give and go as O”Leary passed it to Hansson, who was cutting to the goal as soon as Hansson got it she crossed it to a wide-open Gavaghan, who tapped in to give the Bears a 2-0 lead right before intermission.

O’Leary added her third goal of the a season after a beautiful cross from Leonie Proessl. O’Leary had to split two defenders to kick into the back of the net.

Catawba then went on their run as they scored in the 74th minute on a goal from Sydney Jimmo. The Indians than had a golden chance to cut it to 3-2 in the 79th but they had a shot hit the post then they had a perfect rebound shot but Louise Berg made a great defensive save to prevent the goal and keep it a two goal lead.

Biddle than called game with an acrobatic goal at the top of box to make it 4-1 and put the game to bed for LR.

The Bears clinch their 8th regular season SAC title in the last 12 years. The win also snaps Catawba’s 25-game SAC regular season unbeaten streak. The Indians were 22-0-3 in their last 25 conference games coming into the game. The Bears are the last team to defeat Catawba in conference play when they won 1-0 on March 11, 2020. LR also defeated Catawba 1-0 in the SAC semifinals later that spring. In the last three seasons, Catawba is now 39-4-5 overall. Three of those losses are to the Bears, and the other was to No. 4 Columbus State last week. One of the five ties was in last year’s NCAA Tournament, when the Bears and Indians were scoreless after 110 minutes of action. LR won in the PK shootout to advance and ended Catawba’s season for the second time in that calendar year.

LR was ranked No. 3 in the first regional rankings that came out right before the game.

Lenoir-Rhyne improves to 10-2-3 overall, 9-0-2 in the South Atlantic Conference. Bears will host the SAC Quarterfinals on Saturday against No 8 seed Newberry. Kickoff is schedule for 7:30 PM from Hickory