COLUMBUS – Beginning its quest for a national championship, the fifth-ranked and top-seeded Columbus State University women’s soccer team scored four first-half goals on its way to a 5-2 win over fourth-seeded Armstrong State on Sunday. The second round NCAA Tournament match was played at the Walden Soccer Complex.
With the win, the Lady Cougars advance to the Southeast Region final against second-seeded and 20th-ranked North Georgia. The match will be played on Friday at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla.
Columbus State (19-2-0) has now won 14 consecutive matches and extended its home unbeaten streak to a NCAA-leading 34.
“It was great to get a win today,” head coach Jay Entlich said. “I don’t think that we played our best, but you’re happy any time you can get a victory in the NCAA Tournament.”
The Lady Cougars needed just four minutes to get on the board for the first time on Sunday as Mandy Janowitz beat a pair of defenders and poked home the first tally of the match. The goal was the 11th of the season for the senior.
Seven minutes later, Janowitz was involved again, this time setting up a scoring chance. Janowitz dribbled into the box and sent a pass to Olivia Jarrell who beat the keeper for her 18th of the year to make it 2-0.
The two-goal lead would be short-lived though, as Armstrong State (14-5-2) rallied back. Martha Trimbach cleaned up a loose ball in front of the net in the 17th minute to cut the deficit to one, and Michelle Allen tied the match in the 30th with a perfect free kick.
Columbus State found the answer in the form of a pair of players off the bench. Flo Spano dribbled down the end line in the 36th minute and rolled a pass across the front of the net. Georgia Barton was on the receiving end and put it home to give CSU the lead back.
The Spano to Barton combination wasn’t done however. The duo connected in a very similar fashion four minutes later to push the lead back out to two. The two goals from Barton sent the game to the half at 4-2 in the Lady Cougars’ favor.
After a wild scoring first half, the second didn’t see any scoring until the final minute.
With just 46 seconds showing on the clock, Barton completed her hat trick with a goal from the left side of the box past the charging goalkeeper. Barton entered the match with just one goal on the season and became the third Lady Cougar to net a hat trick this season, joining Jarrell and Spano.
Maylyn Parsons added to her conference-leading win total, making four saves as CSU outshot the Pirates 18-9 on the afternoon.