BARNESVILLE — The Gordon State College women’s soccer team watched its 2019 season come to a close Thursday as the host Highlanders fell 5-0 to Eastern Florida State College in the semifinal round of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Southeast District tournament.
Georgia Military College (10-7-1) defeated Spartanburg Methodist College 3-2 in the other semifinal to move into Friday’s championship game in Barnesville against EFSC (13-0), with the winner advancing to the NJCAA National Tournament Nov. 18-23 in Melbourne, Fla. SMC’s season ended with a record of 12-6-1. GSC and GMC represented NJCAA Region 17 while SMC is from Region 10 and EFSC is from Region 8.
GSC finished the season with a 16-3-2 overall record and champions of the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA)/Region 17 with a 10-0-2 regular-season conference mark. It was GSC’s second straight conference/region title.
“We are extremely proud of our girls and the season they put together,” GSC head coach Scott Henderson said. “We took on some tough out-of-conference opponents this year and they performed like champions.”
The night got off to a rough start in Thursday’s semifinal as EFSC jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute of the contest on a goal by Vieria Massale. But GSC battled and kept it a one-goal game until the final minute of the opening half when Paula Garrido scored to send EFSC into halftime with a 2-0 advantage.
EFSC struck quickly to open the second half as Morgan Miller, the Titans’ leading scorer, found the back of the net on a penalty kick in the 46th minute to make it 3-0. EFSC added a pair of goals as Miller scored a second time in the 60th minute and Marthe Taugbol completed the scoring in the 84th minute for the final five-goal margin.
EFSC put 26 shots on goal while GSC had seven.
GSC will also say goodbye to six sophomores — defender Brittany Colangelo (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison High School), defender Kayleigh McQueen (Suffolk, Va./Nansemond River High School), midfielder Kaitlin O’Connor (Fayetteville, Ga./Whitewater High School), goal keeper Brooke Shavers (Meansville, Ga./Pike County High School), forward Sydney Stephens (Griffin, Ga./Spalding High School) and defender Izzy Vazquez (Bradenton, Fla./Braden River High School) — who combined to be the most successful class in Highlanders’ soccer history with a 33-5-2 record.
Sophomore forward Alex Chapman (Griffin, Ga./Spalding High School) earned GCAA/Region 17 All-Region first-team honors along with sophomore defender Isabelle Vazquez (Bradenton, Fla./Braden River High School) and freshman midfielder Ashley Hendrix (Griffin, Ga./home achool).
“Izzy (Isabelle Vazquez) has been a tremendous force in our conference and has turned into a leader in our locker room,” Henderson said. “Alex Chapman found her passion for the game again and has led the team offensively.”
Freshman midfielder Jennifer Beharie (Leiderdorp, the Netherlands/DaVinci College) led the Highlanders this season with nine assists and added nine goals for 27 points, the second best total on the GSC squad.
Shavers was named to the GCAA/Region 17 All-Region first team while sophomore defender Colangelo made the All-Region second team.