CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Facing a one-goal deficit heading into the final 20 minutes of play, freshman Kirsten Armetta scored on a penalty kick just inside the 71st minute to eventually send the match into overtime where sixth-seeded Anderson University women's soccer advanced to the SAC Championship semifinals with a 4-3 victory in penalty kicks over third-seeded Queens, Tuesday evening at Dickson Field.
With the draw, the Trojans advance to the semifinals for the third season in a row. Anderson will face No. 2 Wingate who defeated No. 7 Catawba, 4-1, during its quarterfinal match. The Royals will wait to learn their NCAA Tournament fate on Monday, as they end their SAC Tournament run with an 11-2-3 overall record.
On a night that heavily favored Queens, Anderson showed its resiliency and took full advantage of the opportunity at hand.
"We are extremely proud of the fight this team brought forward tonight," said head coach Julie Carlson. "Queens is a very good team. They have not given up many goals and are very well organized. There were so many moments the game could have changed and that's the beauty of the game. This group continues to believe in their ability and the more they persevere and stay resilient they can accomplish anything. We knew that we needed to stay in the hunt and be opportunistic when we could and by God's blessings He guided us out on top."
Queens outshot Anderson 29 (12) – 5 (2) and held a 12 -0 corner kick advantage.
The Royals jump out to a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute on a cross by Jasmin Singh. Singh's cross was able to be handled by Alana Jefferson who headed in her eighth goal of the season.
After Armetta's second half equalizer, the Trojans and Royals played to a 1-1 draw at the conclusion of the overtime periods forcing the match into penalty kicks.
Queens Jefferson got the Royals off to a good start connecting on the first attempt of the penalty-kick round. AU's junior Lexxi Longmore answered back by drilling her attempt past the keeper. After Queens Thea Mallett's misfired on her attempt with Anderson goalkeeper Abby Helm making the stop, junior Lauren Allan handed AU a 2-1 lead after she made her attempt.
With the 2-1 lead, Queens Elizabeth Phan found the back of the net to bring it to 2-2. Anderson freshman Fanny Karlsson stepped up and beat Queens' keeper to put the Trojans ahead, 3-2. The Royals Taylor Hunkele sailed her fourth-round attempt over the goal giving the Trojans a huge advantage. AU sophomore Emily Toftbjerg's winning kick attempt hit the post keeping the Royals alive. Queens' final attempt found the back of net, 3-3. The Black and Gold's fifth and final attempt was taken by Helm. Helm stepped up and drilled her attempt advancing the Trojans to the semifinals, as Anderson claimed the 4-3 victory in penalty kicks.
Helm closed the match with 10 saves, marking her second-highest total of the season. For the year, Helm has recorded 95 saves and boasts a .856 save percentage.
"Abby Helm had an outstanding performance," noted Carlson. "She made some incredible saves."
Anderson's semifinal match against Wingate will be played at Rock Hill's Manchester Meadows. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m.