The Lady Bulldogs will be competing for an Appalachian Conference Tournament title and a spot in the NAIA National Tournament after defeating Reinhardt 3-1 in the AAC Tournament semifinals on Wednesday.
Tennessee Wesleyan scored twice in the first half and added an insurance goal in the second on the way to the win. It may not have been the prettiest victory on a cold, rainy day, but the second-seeded Lady Bulldogs will gladly take the result.
“It was a good win versus a good team,” TWU Coach Bryan Walker said. “It wasn’t the prettiest game, but the girls did a good job of grinding out the win.”
And that brings the Lady Bulldogs one step closer to their goal.
“The girls told me they want to win a conference championship,” Walker said. “I hope they are not overly thrilled with making it to the championship game. But they are pretty grounded and I think we will come out Friday and play well.”
TWU is scheduled to host No. 4 Milligan, which upset regular-season AAC champion Truett-McConnell in the other semifinal, for the title match Friday, but that may change to Saturday depending on the weather. No official time has been set, but Walker expects the first kick between noon and 2 p.m.
Stay tuned to The Daily-Post Athenian and the Tennessee Wesleyan University sports website for an official day and time for the championship match.
Whenever the game is, Walker expects a tough contest. TWU won the regular season matchup in two overtimes.
TWU 3, Reinhardt 1
It didn’t take the Lady Bulldogs long to find the back of the net as Siobhan Patterson scored just 1:47 into the game. Patterson was in the right place at the right time when the ball deflected off the Reinhardt goalie on a shot by Lauren Cunningham right in the path of Patterson, who tipped in the easy shot.
Cunningham also had a hand in the Lady Bulldogs’ second goal as she sent a pass into the box where Livia Walker heads the ball in for the score at the 23:32 mark.
Third-seeded Reinhardt cut Wesleyan’s lead to 2-1 with a goal at the 36:56 point of the first half.
The Lady Bulldogs went to the half with just a one goal lead.
Neither team scored through the middle of the second half, but Walker fired a laser shot with 17 minutes to play to provide TWU with a 3-1 lead and give Wesleyan a two-goal cushion.
The whistle blew 17 minutes later and the Lady Bulldogs find themselves one step from their championship goal.
While goal scorers get their names in the boxscore, Walker said everybody participated in the win. Wesleyan deployed just three midfielders to Reinhardt’s four, but it didn’t matter as starters Hannah Dearing, Emiley Sadler, Patterson and substitute Chloe Rootes controlled the midfield.
Walker also praised defenders for limiting Reinhardt to only three shots on goal and 10 total shots.
TWU goalie Kelly Morine made three saves. Wesleyan fired off 26 shots with 1 1 of them on frame.
Walker scored two goals and Patterson had one. Cunningham and Els van Hooijdonk each had an assist.