October 29, 2011

Trio of Goal Scorers Lead King to Season Finale Victory

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – King Women's Soccer featured a trio of goal scorers in the Lady Tornado's 3-0 victory over the Converse College Valkyries, Saturday night. With the win, the Lady Tornado also added the final piece to the puzzle of what is the Conference Carolinas Women's Soccer Tournament, learning that they earned the fifth seed and will be traveling to Limestone College for their first round tournament match.

While standout Morgan Shelton led the Lady Tornado with five shots on goal on seven attempts, each of the team's three goals were scored by a different King player. King converted one of its six shots on goal in the first half, courtesy a goal by Devon Shanklin (Knoxville, Tenn.) just short of the 21-minute marker.

Heidi Steger (Chattanooga, Tenn.) issued one of her two assists on the day, delivering a shot from 35 yards out that was punched out by Converse keeper Katie Wasylko and bounced off the crossbar. Shanklin cleaned up the garbage and finished with a volley from six yards out to put the Lady Tornado up, 1-0. The goal was Shanklin's fifth goal of the season and fourth in league play.

After taking a one-goal lead into the half, Jamie Grigsby (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) scored her fourth goal of the season at 48:30 off a true pass from Steger. From 40 yards out, Steger slid the ball through traffic to the corner of the 18-yard marker where Grigsby turned with the ball and struck it low and to the corner of the Valkyrie goal for a 2-0 lead.

King (8-7-1, 7-4-1) was not done scoring when Caroline Gentry (Bristol, Tenn.) added her name to the list of goal scorers, tallying her first goal of the season. Stemming from a corner kick, the ball was cleared out to Devon Shanklin beyond the box. Shanklin then played it to the left side of pitch, again to the corner of the 18-yard marker where Gentry took possession and shot it to the keeper's left-hand side, placing it perfectly in the far-most corner.

"To have three different scorers not named Morgan Shelton is huge for this team," said Head Coach Simon Duffy. "They played her well but the team really came together and got the job done."

Abbey Kitts kept the Valkyries off the score sheet in her fifth shutout of the season. The redshirt junior made eight saves on the day, the most she recorded since making 10 against Mount Olive on Sept. 17.

King outshot Converse on total attempt 29-13 but played to a very even keeled first half, having only a one-shot advantage in the first half.

"We knew the first half would be a tough one, especially with a tough team like Converse," said Duffy. "Being it Converse's Senior Day there was going to be a lot of emotion to overcome but the ladies did well overcoming and taking an early lead."

 

The Lady Tornado played great defense in the second half by applying a more intense offensive pressure. In the second half alone, King outshot Converse 19-4, putting 13 of those shots on goal.

Duffy continued, "The girls really turned it on and put it into another gear to put it away in the second half. Credit goes to the girls for showing up with their 'A' game and taking care of business on the road, on their senior night."

With the win, King solidifies themselves as the five seed in the pairings for the Conference Carolinas Tournament. They will play fourth-seeded Limestone on Monday, Oct. 31 at 2:00 p.m. in Gaffney, S.C. in the first round.

King was beaten by Limestone, 5-0, on Sept. 10 in the team's first conference game of the program's history and their first home game of the season. Despite the loss, the team has made significant strides to improve as a team. Since that loss, King has gone 7-3-1 overall and outscored their opponent 26-9. They have blanked their opponent five times (4-0-1) and have only been shut out twice (0-1-1) since their last meeting. Since losing their first three conference games of the season, King has gone 7-1-1 against league opponents. They are currently on a three-match win streak and are 4-1 in their last five road games this season heading into the quarterfinal game against the Saints.

"To say we have come a long way is an understatement," said Duffy. "They all have come together and believe in one another. I am really excited to play Limestone again. There are all good teams left in this tournament and we are blessed to have finished this strongly in our first season in the conference."