Williamsburg, Ky. --- The University of Rio Grande RedStorm women's soccer team gave it a great effort on Saturday afternoon in the first round of the Mid-South Conference women's soccer tournament, battling the University of the Cumberlands tooth and nail. Rio's effort unfortunately was not enough as Cumberlands advanced the semifinal round on penalty kicks after the two teams played to a 1-1 draw.
Rio Grande (7-9-1), the No. 6 seed in the tournament, trailed for most of the contest as Katie Hefelfinger of Cumberlands started the scoring in the 27th minute, giving the Patriots a 1-0 lead.
Running out of time, Rio was able to knot the score with a little more than three minutes to play on a goal from sophomore forward Mandi Thoma (Ontario, OH).
The 1-1 score lasted through both overtimes sessions, leaving the outcome to be decided in a shootout. Rio knocked home five of eight chances while Cumberlands connected on six of eight to earn the right to play in the MSC semifinals at Rio Grande beginning on Wednesday, November 10.
Freshman goalkeeper Hannah Stickelman (Ontario, OH) played an outstanding game in the net for the RedStorm as she recorded 11 saves. Brittany Gadd of Cumberlands tallied three saves.
Cumberlands out-shot Rio Grande, 20-6 for the game and held a 12-5 edge in shots on goal.
Although disappointed in the outcome, Rio Grande head coach Amber Oliver was proud of the way her team competed. "They played very well today, they played with so much heart," Oliver said. "Allyson Schmelzer (Lancaster, OH) played hurt and played the entire game, Mary Schramm (Marietta, OH) was sick and she played the entire game."
"Venessa Montgomery (Chillicothe, OH) and Erica Nagel (St. Marys, OH) played well, Hannah played well in goal," Oliver added. "The girls deserved to win, everybody played well today."
The RedStorm team enjoyed a record-setting season, establishing a new single-season mark for victories.
Cumberlands (7-8-3), the No. 3 seed in the tournament, also defeated Rio Grande during the regular season.