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Women's soccer wins Sun Belt, advances to NCAAs

Well, at least one FIU team facing Western Kentucky in a defensive struggle got the job done in the clutch.

Freshman Johanna Volz probably barely knew what to do with her legs the only other time FIU made the NCAA tournament, in 1993. After all, she was 1.

Volz knew what to do with her kicking leg Saturday, burying the winning goal in a penalty kick shootout against Western Kentucky that gave FIU the Sun Belt title and an NCAA tournament bid. 

"In penalty kicks, the shooter should theoretically score every time," FIU coach Thomas Chestnutt said. "But factor in the magnitue of hte game, fatigue and that goal starts to look smaller and the goalkeeper looks bigger."

On the philosophy that the first kick is the most important and wanting a cool head, Chestnutt chose senior defender April Perry. She got FIU off to a great start and Savage wound up stopping two penalties from Western. 

After a scoreless regulation and overtime, FIU goalkeeper Kaitlyn Savage outdueled All-Sun Belt goalkeeper Libby Stout as FIU outscored Western 4-3 in kicks. Western outshot FIU 19-8 in regulation with all 19 shots coming after halftime.

"For a half, we had the better of a play," Chestnutt said. "In the second half, we were completely taken out of the game. In overtime, both teams had their chances.

"I'm just really proud of the girls, the way they fought. Credit to Western Kentucky, they did the same. Scarlett (Montoya) had a shot that one of their girls saved off the line."

Nicole DiPerna was named the tournament's outstanding player. Volz, Chelsea Leiva, Ashleigh Shim and Kim Lopez also made the All-Tournament team. Somehow, Stout was chosen over Savage as the all-tournament keeper. Yeah.

FIU's NCAA match will be announced Monday afternoon.

(For those wondering, it's my wife's birthday, so I wasn't in Bowling Green for the 10-9 football loss. There won't be an extensive postgame blog, at least not by me.)

 

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