Soccer Wins Conference Carolina Title; Advances to NCAA Tournament

Braves players pose in front of their of their tournament chart after their victory. Top(left to right): Zion Sellers, Nona Borden, Naomi Fountain, Anna Grossheim. Bottom (left to right): Rilee Seering, Chiara Coppin. Submitted Photo/ Brendon Johnson.

By: Hunter Locklear, Contributor

The Braves traveled to Florence, S.C. to take part in the Conference Carolina tournament, where they would take on foe North Greenville University. 

The Nov. 12 matchup that took place in the Florence Soccer Complex saw the Braves come out on top 1-0. 

This semifinal matchup determined who would get to play in the championship game for the Conference Carolinas.

Zion Sellers found the ball in midfield and got it to Seering, who out-raced the opposing goalkeeper to get the ball into the top right corner of the goal right before the half time break at 41:41. 

This goal gave Sellers her first career assist and gave Seering her 13th goal for the season.

Rilee Seering was the only player to find the back of the net with a goal.

This game also saw Chiara Coppin, who has been a defensive nightmare for opposing offenses all season, record three saves and tally her 8th shutout of the season. 

With a low score of 1-0, the Braves still put the usual pressure on the opposing defense like they have all season, with 24 shots in total, and 15 shots on goal. 

After the win that sent the Braves to the conference title game, Rilee Seering talked about how major the win was for the team, and how as a senior it could have been her last. 

“That was a hard-fought win, every single one of us put our heart into that game,” Seering said. “I played that game knowing it could be my last, but I played with full intentions of winning.” 

Seering also noted how she left her all out on the field, and how she has been preparing her whole life for this moment. 

“I would put it all out there for my team, for my coaches, and for UNCP,” Seering Said. “I perform for others, I perform because I love soccer, I perform because that’s what I have been preparing my whole life to do.”

Seering made it clear that the team’s mindset going into the championship game was to win and leave everything on the field, saying that “we will put it all out on the field for 90 minutes, with no regrets.”

Braves Become Tournament Champs over Mount Olive

Sunday, Nov. 14 saw the Braves back in Florence, S.C.  taking on undefeated No. 1 ranked Mount Olive, who was on a 21-game winning streak. 

Earlier this season, Mount Olive gave the Braves their only in-conference loss and was the team that knocked the Braves off their historic 11 game win streak. 

This game decided who was going to be the 2021 Conference Carolina Champions, and the Braves prevailed 3-0. 

It was a night for the seniors on the team, with Alexis Pittman and Rilee Seering finding the net to put a total 3 goals on the board combined. 

Pittman found the back of the net early in the 12th minute, which pushed the Braves ahead, and from that point forward they never looked back.  

Seering was able to get in a shot assisted by Ashleigh Harris at the 35th minute, which gave Harris assist number two on the night. 

Chiara Coppin had another great defensive night, having another three-save game, and tallied her ninth shutout of the season. 

The final dagger was delivered when Seering took control of a thrown in ball in the 77th minute, drove down the field to find Pittman, who was able to knock in her second shot of the evening.

This big win gave the Braves their second conference tournament championship in program history. 

Pittman was named the Tournament MVP, while Seering, Maya Grimes, Kennedy Rucker, and Brianna De Coteau were named Conference Carolinas All-Tournament Team. Pittman was also named in the All-Tournament Team. 

The Braves will make their fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 18, and this will mark the program’s first automatic lock into the tournament.

Scan this QR code to access additional Images of the victory celebration at the Jones Center.

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