Women’s soccer suffers season-ending defeat

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by Colleen McNickle

The season came to a close this weekend for the Radford women’s soccer team. The Highlanders fell 2-0 to the Fighting Camels of Campbell University in the first round of the Big South Tournament.

The third-seeded Fighting Camels (12-7, 6-3 Big South) led the six-seeded Highlanders (7-9, 5-4) in many categories, including shots and shots on goal. Radford senior Courtenay Kaplan was tested all night, coming up with five saves on 21 shots.

Campbell came to play early with a six-shot attempt rally in the first 25 minutes of the game. Their first score came on the sixth attempt by freshman forward Alexa Genas after a scramble in the box initially forced a save from Kaplan that Genas was able to put back in on the rebound.

The Highlanders’ best opportunity to score came early in the second half with two consecutive attempts by sophomore forward Jessica Wollman and sophomore midfielder Jasmine Casarez. The team was unable to rally and score after either attempt due to the tight defense by the Fighting Camels.

Campbell would seal it with a second goal in the 61st minute. Genas earned her second of the night after Shelby Denkert found her just inside the box on a Camels counter-attack, putting away the ball into the far post with a one-time finish. Campbell’s defense would stifle the Highlander offense for the rest of the game, advancing to the semifinals of the Big South Tournament.

“Credit to Campbell, they played a good game and we wish them luck going forward,” Radford head coach Ben Sohrabi said. “I thought we played well in spells tonight, especially in the beginning of the second half until they scored the second goal, and that took the wind out of our sails a bit.”

This loss continues the 3-season streak of losing records for the Highlanders. They have not made the conference final since 2013. This loss also concludes the careers of four of Radford’s seniors. Midfielder Hannah Duff, forward Lexi Denny, defender Miranda Carson and goalkeeper Sydney Chervenic all ended their four-year careers with the Highlanders.

“I want to thank our seniors for their dedication and commitment to the program,” Sohrabi said. “Our returners can learn so much from them.”

Four Highlanders garnered the 2nd Team All-Big South Honors. Casarez, Duff, freshman forward Nelia Perez and junior midfielder Jordan Lundin were the players bestowed with the honor. Perez and Duff also got named to the All-Freshman and All-Academic Teams, respectively.