Elon Women’s Soccer Heads to Birmingham for SoCon Tourney Semifinals

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University women’s soccer team makes the trek to Birmingham, Ala., for the semifinals of the 2012 Southern Conference Tournament this weekend, as the fifth-seeded Phoenix takes on eighth-seeded Georgia Southern on Friday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. (ET) at the Samford Track & Soccer Stadium. The winner will advance to the championship match on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m. (ET) on ESPN3.

The Phoenix reached the tournament semifinals after topping fourth-seeded Appalachian State, 1-0, on Sunday, Oct. 28, at ASU Soccer Stadium in Boone, N.C. Senior Jaclyn Wood hit the game-winner for the maroon and gold in the 33rd minute and the Phoenix defense posted its eighth clean slate of the season in the win. Goalie Kate Murphy earned the win between the posts for Elon, as the Sterling, Va., native finished with six saves.

Elon and Georgia Southern are meeting for the second time this season on Friday. The Phoenix topped the Lady Eagles, 1-0, at Rudd Field on Oct. 12 behind a Chelsey Stark goal and six saves from Murphy. The match is the 12th all-time meeting between Elon and GSU, as the Phoenix leads the series, 7-3-1. The two teams have never met in the SoCon Tournament prior to this weekend.

The Phoenix enters Friday’s match with eight shutouts this season. It marks the most clean-sheets for the team since 2009 when it also recorded eight shutouts. The Division I record for shutouts in a season belongs to the 1999 squad that finished with nine. The all-time program record for shutouts is 12, accomplished by the 1991 Elon team.

Elon has had 14 different players score this season going into the tournament semifinals. Simi Dhaliwal leads all Phoenix players with three goals and seven total points this season, while a total of six players have scored two goals.

Murphy enters this weekend with 104 total saves this year, good for eighth all-time in a single season in program history. Her six shutouts are tied for eighth on Elon’s single season chart, while her 1.01 goals against average is the seventh best in a single season all-time.

Senior defender Claire O’Keeffe continues to rewrite the Elon record book game-by-game, as the Greensboro, N.C., native enters Friday’s match against GSU with an Elon record 81 starts under her belt. During her career, O’Keeffe has helped Elon to a total of 27 shutouts.

Georgia Southern heads into Friday on a three-match winning streak. The Lady Eagles closed the regular season with wins over Wofford and Davidson before upsetting top-ranked UNCG on Sunday in Greensboro, N.C., with a 1-0 victory behind a goal in the 89th minute by Nora El-Shami.

The winner of Friday’s match between Elon and Georgia Southern will advance to the SoCon Tournament championship match on Sunday to face the winner between seventh-seeded College of Charleston and third-seeded Furman. CofC earned an upset win of its own, topping tournament host and second-seeded Samford, 2-1, in the quarterfinals. Furman earned a 3-2 win over sixth-seeded Davidson in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals this weekend.