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Radford University Women’s Soccer captured the Big South regular season title on Oct. 25 after winning two out of three games in the past week. The Highs’ streak of consecutive shutouts ended on Oct. 20 when the High Point University Panthers beat the Highlanders 1-0 in an overtime thriller at Cupp Stadium.
Panthers’ sophomore midfielder Becca Hemby launched a free kick header that managed to get by RU’s senior goalkeeper Lisa Lubke in overtime, lifting High Point to a 1-0 overtime victory. It was the first Big South goal allowed by the Highlander defense, and sealed their first Big South loss of the season.
“It was a tough game,” said Head Coach Ben Sohrabi. “Two good teams, and there’s a bunch of teams like that in the Big South. I think both teams played really well. It was a really tough game and you know we had a couple half chances, they got a half chance, they finished it you know and we have to do a better job defending.”
The Highlanders recorded a total of 10 shots on goal in what was one of the more physically aggressive matches of the season. Close to the end of the game, freshman midfielder Stephanie Herb was given a yellow card. There were a total of 21 fouls in the night, 10 of them being called against Radford and 11 on High Point.
The first half ended with the Highlanders holding a 5-2 advantage in shots, neither team being able to finish any opportunities, and the second half saw the intensity level increase. 13 of the game’s 21 fouls were in the second half, and there were two more in the overtime period when regulation ended with the score remaining at a 0-0 tie. High Point finally came away with the victory about six minutes into overtime, and the Highlanders were handed their first conference loss of the season.
Radford wasted no time in bouncing back, however, with a 3-2 road win over the Liberty Flames on Oct. 22.
“Liberty’s a tough game,” Sohrabi said. “It’s a tough place to play and they’re a good team.”
The Highlanders jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, with the first goal coming from sophomore midfielder Rachel Conway, who managed to rebound a loose ball from a free kick just eight minutes into the game, then sophomore forward Sahar Aflaki, also managed to take advantage of a free kick for the Highlanders, giving them a 2-0 lead with about 12 minutes remaining until the half. Sophomore defender Sydney Golden tallied the assists for both goals.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, sophomore forward Julie Ruh`e put away the goal that ultimately became the winning one for the Highlanders with junior forward Mary Wiley recording the assist. The Highlanders now held a commanding 3-0 lead, and finally the Flames came around to give them a scare, as sophomore forward Casey Norris and freshman defender Geena Swentik put in two goals for Liberty, both of which came within just three minutes of each other.
Their efforts weren’t quite enough, as Radford was able to hold them off after that, and the Highlanders recorded the 3-2 victory. They have only allowed three goals in conference games so far this season.
On Oct. 25, the Highs defeated Virginia Military Institute 4-0 to secure the Big South regular season championship. Although there is one conference game left, it’s now impossible for any team to catch them for first place.
The win lifted Radford to a record of 13-4 (8-1), and the next contest for them will be away against Campbell University on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.
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