Lady Cougars Win Conference Tournament Soccer Game

After a 55-minute lightning delay interrupted the first half of Tuesdays first-round Peach Belt Conference Womens Soccer Tournament game, Columbus State used some second-half lightning of its own to break a 1-1 tie and take a 3-1 win over North Georgia.

The Lady Cougars, the tournaments top seed, earn the right to host the PBC Final Four on Friday and Saturday with the victory.

CSU also found out just before game time that it had garnered the programs first-ever national ranking this week, entering the NSCAA/Adidas Division II Top 25 in the No. 25 spot. The ranking is icing on the cake for the second-year program and comes on the heels of its first-ever PBC regular season championship -- a title shared with Clayton State this season.

Katherine Atwater got the scoring started in the first half as she took a pass from Kellie Myles after a corner kick and beat North Georgia keeper Kelly Conarro in the lower right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead just 7:27 into play. North Georgia (3-12) answered quickly, getting a breakaway in which Elizabeth Franklin ran down a feed from Jessica Williams and beat Monica Sanchez to tie the score at 1-1 at the 9:39 mark.

Rain started to fall a short time later and with 13:20 left in the half, play was halted due to lightning. The delay lasted 55 minutes and the two squads resumed play in a steady rain, going into the half knotted at one.

CSU finally broke through and got the eventual game-winner from Hannah Ospina. Megan Honig served in a corner kick which Ospina and teammate Krystin Mills each went up for, but Ospina connected with the header to beat Conarro for the 2-1 lead at the 73:59 mark. Kassy Boivin struck just under three minutes later with the games final goal off a great crossing pass from Mills to make it 3-1.

Conarro faced a barrage of 31 CSU shots from all directions on the day, coming up with eight saves. Sanchez recorded one save for CSU and faced only three shots. CSU held a 9-1 advantage in corner kicks.

The Lady Cougars (14-5-1) will now turn their attention to hosting the leagues top four teams beginning Friday. CSU has chosen to play the 12-Noon game, and will play the UNC Pembroke vs. Lander winner. Armstrong Atlantic State, 7-1 winners over Georgia College & State University on Tuesday, will face the Clayton State vs. USC Upstate winner at 2:30. Saturdays championship game will kick off at 2 p.m.