Day Two Recap of 2023 NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship

Day Two Recap of 2023 NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship

Foley, Ala.  – [Final Site Schedule] [Bracket] Day two of the 2023 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship was loaded with action as the day started with overtime that saw No. 2 Spring Arbor (Mich.) advancing. The middle two games of the day were action-packed as teams stuffed the stats sheet with goals and shots, while we nearly had a new record for the most corner kicks in a game. The final game of the evening was possession-driven by both teams, but Hope International (Calif.) came out on top thanks to a late goal and a game-winning stop by the Royals goalkeeper just before the final horn.




No. 2 Spring Arbor (Mich.) def. Bethel (Tenn.), 2-1 (2OT)

  • Spring Arbor (Mich.) posted a couple of chances early in the match that the Bethel (Tenn.) defense was able to handle and clear.
  • The Cougars earned a set piece near the corner, but the header from Megan Mihaly in the eighth minute was wide of the post as both teams continued to look for the first goal of the day.
  • SAU’s attack was relentless through the first 15 minutes of play as Bethel continued to hang in the game with strong defensive stands.
  • Spring Arbor (Mich.) got in behind the Lady Wildcats for a wide open look on goal but found the post instead of the net as we stayed tied in the 51st minute.
  • The Cougars broke the tie in the 57th minute as Megan Mihaly found Jocelyn Hendricks on the back post, but the lead was short lived as Audrey LaRue got the rebound off the cross bar just two minutes later as this game was knotted back even at 1-1.
  • SAU had two great looks on back-to-back corner kicks, but Bethel (Tenn.) handled the threat efficiently and was able to clear to keep the game tied in the 67th minute.
  • As day one ended, day two began as Spring Arbor (Mich.) and Bethel (Tenn.) were unable to break the tie despite SAU leading the way in shots (16-2) and corners (17-2).
  • Spring Arbor (Mich.) regained the lead on a set piece just outside the 18-yard box in the 95th minute off the foot of Isa Martinez.
  • SAU was one corner kick away from tying the record for most corners taken in a single game set back in 2010.
  • Overall, the Cougars outshot the Lady Wildcats 20-3 in the match.

Life (Ga.) def. Truett McConell (Ga.), 2-1

  • The first 26 minutes between the two Georgia teams has been in the midfield, while Life (Ga.) had a pair of chances early on, the Bears of Truett McConnell had their first opportunity on goal in the 28th minute.
  • TMU’s Eliska Dvorakova had a great look on goal in the 31st minute but sent it high just over the crossbar.
  • After the first 45 minutes of play, we were still knotted at 0-0 as neither team had many chances.
  • The Running Eagles struck first in the 51st minute as Marey Helgadottir served the ball into the box for Lilja Bjorg Olafsdottir to redirect it around the Bear’s goalkeeper.
  • The free kick on the corner of the 18-yard box, set up Life (Ga.) to play it into the box allowing Marey Helgadottir and Lavinia Horning to assist on the goal that was off the head of Lilja Bjorg Olafsdottir for the 2-0 lead in the 64th minute.
  • TMU answered back in the 67th minute off the foot of Isabella Hodson to cut the margin back to one.
  • The Running Eagles defensive line came up big in the 81st minute needing a goal line clear after Dvorakova was able to beat the Life goalkeeper in her effort to knot this game up.
  • Life (Ga.) picked up their first win in program history at the final site.

No. 3 Cumberlands (Ky.) def. OUAZ (Ariz.), 2-0

  • After the starting whistle, the Patriots quickly adjusted their formation to have only three defenders as they heavily controlled possession in the OUAZ (Ariz.) defensive third of the field.
  • The Spirit inched their way into the Cumberlands (Ky.) defensive third around the ninth minute as Haley Chitwood created some space for a long shot on goal but was tracked all the way in by Georgia Martell for the easy pick up.
  • Cumberlands (Ky.) only needed 14 minutes and one shot to take the lead in this game as Carola Fontan sent a rocket into the top corner for the 1-0 lead.
  • OUAZ (Ariz.) quickly attempted to answer just seconds after the restart, but Anabella Bara was denied the goal by the crossbar.
  • The Spirit had another good look on goal in the 17th minute as Lucia Gomez had some space to get the shot off but she pushed it wide of the post.
  • Melinda Lertzman looked to possibly chip the UC goalkeeper from distance in the 20th minute as she had too much on it and sent it over the cross bar.
  • OUAZ continued to apply pressure to the Patriots late in the second half as Kylie Walker and Lertzman tallied back-to-back shots in the 38th and 39th minutes.
  • Cumberlands (Ky.) responded in the 41st minute with a chance of their own but it was wide of the post.
  • The Spirit earned a dangerous free kick about 25-yards out with two minutes to play in the first half, the Patriots were able to deal with the threat though and clear it out to preserve their 1-0 lead.
  • Cumberlands (Ky.) turned the pressure up, but so didn’t OUAZ (Ariz.) as both squads have ran the field taking their changes as both teams had nine shots with 27 minutes remaining.
  • The Spirit committed back-to-back fouls in the 71st minute, both of which were in dangerous spots that allowed the Patriots to have shots that went over the bar.
  • Cumberlands (Ky.) continued to find threatening opportunities late in the second half between OUAZ (Ariz.) also doing the same as the Patriots collected on a goal in the 86th minute by Noah Paalman pushing their lead to 2-0.

 Hope International (Calif.) def. No. 11 Cumberland (Tenn.), 1-0

  • Cumberland had the first real opportunity of the evening in the seventh minute with a corner kick before it overshot the box packed with Phoenix players.
  • Hope International had the first shot of the game in the 16th minute from 20-yards out as Ryley Candelario sent it over the bar.
  • The Phoenix tallied their first shot of the night in the 20th minute, but Brenna Swiger sent it wide.
  • Cumberland (Tenn.) got the shot they were looking for in the 25th minute, a one-on-one with the goalkeeper of Hope International, but Swiger was unable to find the frame as she pulled it wide.
  • Jaylene Valentin had the go-ahead header off the corner kick from Lauren Lizarraga but were unable to break through as Cumberland (Tenn.) had a defender on the post for the goal line clearance in the 35th minute.
  • Keyla Fragoso sent a good shot in on goal in the 41st minute but Sabrina Graziano tracked the shot through some traffic to make her first save of the evening.
  • Grace Morris had a good look on a free kick in the 58th minute that went wide as Hope International was called for a foul just outside the box.
  • Christiane Sundstrom dribbled around some Cumberland defenders to create some space for a good shot that was saved by a diving Sabrina Graziano to keep the game tied 0-0 in the 66th minute.
  • Sarah Ralston shined bright in the 78th minute for Hope International (Calif.) as she stayed in the play and cleaned up the rebound for the first goal of the game.
  • With the lone goal of the game from Ralston, it solidified the Royals first win at the final site in program history.




Championship Information

NAIA Women's Soccer Championship


Nov. 27 - Dec. 4, 2023
Foley Sports Tourism Championship Stadium
Foley, Ala. 

First & Second Round
Nov. 16-18, 2023
Campus Sites