Soccer Falls to Flagler in NCAA Tournament


Alexis Pittman was named second-team all-conference in the 2021 season. File Photo/Andrew Thrift

Chiara Coppin ends the season with a personal best of seven saves in a game against Lenoir-Rhyne. File Photo/Andrew Thrift

By: Hunter Locklear

On Friday, Nov. 19, the Braves traveled to Columbus, GA. where they would play in their first NCAA tournament game since 2019. The Braves took on No. 18 ranked Flagler University at the Walden Soccer Complex, where they fell 2-1. This loss ended the Braves historic season.

This game saw both teams going scoreless in the first half, with the Braves only score coming from Ashleigh Harris in the 61st minute, when she knocked in a shot off a penalty kick, giving her goal number 5 on the season. Harris was active throughout the game, with four attempted shots, two of them being SOGs. Senior Rilee Seering also attempted three shots, and Alexis Pittman and Zion Sellers both had one shot at the goal.

The Braves didn’t get the chance to apply the quick pace they have been stifling opposing teams with this season, with the team only getting 10 total attempted shots in. This game also saw a heavy workload from the seniors on the squad, with Pittman, Seering, and Brianna De Coteau all playing the full 90 minutes. Kennedy Rucker, Nicole Cook and Chiara Coppin all played 90 minutes as well.

After the game, Brianna De Coteau talked about what the long season meant to her and the team.

“This season meant a lot to me because it was my last one. I’m a senior and I wanted to cherish every moment because I wasn’t going to have the opportunity again. It meant a lot for my team as well because it was our first year in the Conference Carolinas and we wanted to show other teams who UNCP was and that we were here to win and I think we did a pretty good job,” Coteau said.

Coteau also talked about the close relationship she and the team had, and the bond they will keep even after the season.

“Even though the season is over, our team is still going to remain close. We’re friends outside of soccer as well and I think that’s important for the chemistry of a team. I’ve shared a lot of great times with these girls and I’m thankful to have met them,” Coteau said.

In regard to the loss, Coteau said that even though the team didn’t get the outcome they wanted, they showed the team had fight and that there is nothing to be ashamed of.

“I think we had a good fight in the NCAA game, but sometimes things just go a certain way that you didn’t hope for. It was a very close game and regardless of the end result, I am still super happy with how far our team got,” she said.

A few days after the season ending loss, Anna Grosshiem and Rilee Seering were named Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association All-Southeast Region First Team.

Grossheim, who started in all 19 games this season, was also named Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year. Grosshiem led the league in assists, second in total shots (72), and third overall in the league for points (30).

Seering, who was notched as Conference Carolinas Offensive Player of the Year, led the conference in shots, goals, and total goals per game, which was two.

They are the Braves first two players to make the All-Region selections since 2017, when Jasmine Senecal-Guzman and Gina Ryan were both selected.

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