EVANS, Ga. – For the fourth consecutive season, the 10th-ranked Columbus State University women’s soccer team will play for the Peach Belt Conference Championship after a 3-1 victory over No. 18 Flagler on Friday. The PBC semifinal match was played at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga.
The Lady Cougars will take on UNC Pembroke on Sunday at 1 p.m. for the championship after the Braves upset North Georgia 1-0. CSU defeated the Braves 2-1 in Columbus earlier this season.
“We did a good job of staying patient and possessing today,” head coach Jay Entlich said. “We had some moments where we still need to improve, but we’re always happy to get a result and have a chance to play for a championship.”
Things nearly got off to a disastrous start on Friday as Flagler (15-2-2) had a chance at the net in the first minute. The Saints had a clear look at the goal, but Annie Mayo stepped in to clear the ball just before it crossed the line.
From there, Columbus State (15-2-0) began to control possession. The CSU pressure paid off in the 12th minute as Cassandra Wade had a shot blocked in the box. The ball rolled along the line where the Saints attempted to clear, however the clearance deflected off a defender and rolled into the net to put the Lady Cougars in front.
The chances kept coming for the Lady Cougars throughout the first half, but the score remained at 1-0 as the two teams went to halftime.
The match opened up in the second half with the Lady Cougars getting four good looks in the opening five minutes. CSU finally doubled the lead in the 57th minute as Riley Clark got on the end of a corner kick and headed it just inside the right post.
Flagler wouldn’t go quietly though, answering right back with a goal of its own in the 60th minute to keep the Saints within striking distance.
Bria Riancho came up with a trio of big saves over the next 25 minutes to hold onto the lead, and the Lady Cougars finally put the game away with less than six minutes to play.
It was Clark again, this time off a pass from Wade, netting her second goal of the match and 15th of the season.
CSU outshot Flagler 26-9 on the day, while Riancho made seven saves in net for the Lady Cougars.