Rio Grande Sports Information
LEBANON, Tenn. - Third-seeded Cumberland University scored four times in the final 34-1/2 minutes to break open a tight game and defeat the University of Rio Grande, 5-0, in the opening round of the NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship Tournament, Saturday afternoon, at Lindsey Donnell Stadium.
Cumberland, ranked No. 11 in the final regular season coaches' poll, improved to 16-3-1 with the win.
Rio Grande, which qualified for the tourney by virtue of winning the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship, saw its most successful season in the program's history end at 12-6.
The RedStorm, who were making their first-ever national tournament appearance, established a new single-season school record for victories.
For the game, Cumberland outshot Rio 18-2 overall and 10-0 in shots on goal, but led just 1-0 thanks to a goal by Emily Shires off an assist by Kaitlen Kisiloski with 10:17 remaining in the first half.
That's how things stayed until Kaitlin Phillips found the back of the net on the rebound of a shot by Shires which hit the post just over 10 minutes into the second half to make it 2-0.
Twelve minutes later, Taylor Nay pushed the Bulldog lead to 3-0 with an unassisted marker and Shires scored her second goal with just under 11-1/2 minutes left to play, taking a long pass on the left side from teammate Mackenzie Keele and firing a shot that went off the hands of Rio Grande senior goalkeeper Allison Keeney (Cincinnati, OH) and into the net.
An own goal against the RedStorm with 46 seconds remaining set the final score.
Keeney stopped five shots in her final collegiate game for Rio.
Lindsay Kitson recorded the shutout in net for Cumberlands.
Along with Keeney, Saturday's game also marked the final contest in the careers of midfielder Renee Davis (Amsterdam, OH) and forward Karla Garn (Morrow, OH).