Maryville College claimed the USA South Athletic Conference Tournament title on Saturday night, as the Scots defeated Covenant College, 5-0, in the championship bout.
"It's been great," Head Coach Pepe Fernandez said. "We've been a little unfortunate, and that's what I told them at the end. We've had a couple of bad bounces the last two years, and we felt like we were amongst the top two in the conference. The ball didn't bounce our way. We've talked about the entire year about not letting a bad bounce, not letting officiating and not letting weather – any of those factors – make a difference in a one-goal game. Tonight, they didn't. They were fantastic tonight."
MC completed the season, going a perfect 11-0 against league opponents. The Scots swept the regular season – 8-0 – to earn the USA South Western Division title, as they compiled a 3-0 mark in tournament play.
"It's so hard," Fernandez said. "It's so hard. There's so many good teams, you know, and to run through it undefeated and then win the tournament, it says they're a special group."
Maryville's tournament crown is their second since joining the USA South in 2012 and the squad's first since the 2014 season.
The Scots now earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will air on Monday, Nov. 11 at 1:00 p.m.
"It's a reward for us," Fernandez said. "I hope this team realizes what they have and realize what they can do. Defensively, they are very strong, and offensively, we put the ball in the net against everybody. We've taken them all over the country, trying to get them tournament tough. You get in there, and you're going to draw a top team on the road, probably, for your first game. You've got to be ready for it."
Maryville College got on the board early, as they took advantage of a Covenant own goal. Jenna Clothier took a corner kick, as Covenant's Kendyll Freeman attempted to head the ball away from the net. It curled in the air, sneaking in past the left post for a 1-0 Maryville led at the 8:24 mark.
MC would score another in the 20th minute of action – again on a corner kick attempt. Jenna Clothier's corner from the right side found Hannah Clothier on the back post. She one-timed it with her left foot from point blank, making it a 2-0 MC advantage at the 19:50 mark.
It would take just 46 seconds for the Scots to make it a three-goal match, as Macy Lindsey played a long pass forward from the mid line. She found a running Shannon Reagan down the left side, who pushed it past her defender and into the box. Reagan shifted a cross through the box, finding a wide open Taylor Frizen inside the 6-yard box. Frizen deposited her 14th goal of the season from 3 yards out, making it a 3-0 score at 20:36.
Maryville made it 4-0 after a perfect pass from Lindsey Lewallen. She pushed the pass from just outside the center circle, finding Frizen on the outside. The sophomore outran her defender, pushing the shot to the left post from the right side at the 33:40 mark. That goal gave Maryville a 4-0 lead at the half.
Maryville held an 8-2 lead on shots in the first half, as they had six shots on frame. MC held a 7-1 lead on corners for the half.
Covenant came out firing in the second half, as Paige Simons had the Georgian Scots' best opportunity of the game. Abbey Coleman turned the show away just in front of the goal to preserve MC's lead.
Maryville made it a 5-0 match with just over 20 minutes left. After a ping pong ball in the box, Frizen came away with it at the top of the box. Her shot was blocked by a Covenant header, as Reagan collected it with a high left foot just in front of the net. It snuck in the upper left-hand side for her 21st goal of the season.
Maryville College (15-4) was led by Frizen who had two goal and an assist on four shots. Reagan had a goal and an assist on three shots, while Hannah Clothier added a goal. Lewallen and Jenna Clothier had an assist each in the match.
Abbey Coleman turned away each of the three shots she faced on the night for MC.
Maryville outshot Covenant 17-6, as they had 10 shots on frame. The Scots held an 8-2 advantage on corner kicks over Covenant.