NJCAA Division 1 Women’s Soccer Southeast District Tournament

Gordon State College Women's Soccer defended the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA Region 17) title with a 1-0 victory over Georgia Military College.
Gordon State College Women's Soccer defended the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA Region 17) title with a 1-0 victory over Georgia Military College.

By Steve Argo, Gordon State College Development Officer 

Fresh off a Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association championship, the Gordon State College Women’s Soccer team is ready to host the National Junior College Athletic Association Southeast District tournament on Thursday and Friday at the GSC Athletic Complex.

GSC will host the four-team tournament starting on Thursday with a pair of semifinal matchups.  Georgia Military College (9-7-1) will take on Spartanburg Methodist College (12-5-1) at 2 p.m., followed by GSC (16-2-2) matched up with Eastern Florida State College (12-0-0) at 6 p.m. The two winners return on Friday for a 3 p.m. contest with the opportunity to advance to the NJCAA national tournament on November 18-23 in Melbourne, Fla. GSC Soccer

GSC and GMC are representing NJCAA Region 17 while SMC is from Region 10 and EFSC is from Region 8.

“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.”

GSC took care of business in the GCAA tournament last week as the top-seeded Highlanders recorded a pair of shutouts on the road to the title.  GSC defeated Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) 10-0 in one semifinal, which set up a championship matchup with GMC – a 3-1 winner over South Georgia State College in the other semifinal – for a third straight year.

In the championship, GSC defeated GMC 1-0 on a first-half goal by freshman midfielder Ashley Hendrix (Griffin, Ga. / Home School) with an assist by freshman Jersie Stephens (Griffin, Ga. / Spalding High School).

“We’ve accomplished one of our goals and now it’s time to refocus and move on to the next,” Henderson said. “It’s a difficult challenge in Eastern Florida State, but that’s what this group of players came here for.”

EFSC comes into Thursday’s contest with a perfect 12-0 record and has outscored its opponents 49-4 during the season. The Titans are led by sophomore midfielder Morgan Miller’s 13 goals while freshman midfielder Francesca Espinoza has nine goals and 10 assists. Titan Kiera Gibson, a sophomore, has done most of the work in goal, recording 39 saves and collecting all 12 wins.

GSC and EFSC did not meet this year, but the two teams squared off last season with the Titans taking a 5-0 victory in the Southeast District tournament in Spartanburg, S.C.

GMC and SMC met in the 2019 season-opener back on August 24 with the Pioneers winning 1-0.

GSC is led offensively by sophomore forward Alex Chapman (Griffin, Ga. / Spalding High School) with a team-high 13 goals to go with six assists for 32 total points – the top total on the team. Chapman earned GCAA/Region 17 All-Region first-team honors along with sophomore defender Isabelle Vazquez (Bradenton, Fla. / Braden River High School) and Hendrix.

“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 with nine assists and added nine goals for 27 points – second best total on the GSC squad.

Sophomore Brooke Shavers (Meansville, Ga. / Pike County High School) and freshman Becca Doyle (Acworth, Ga. / Harrison High School) have been solid in goal for GSC as the Highlanders have recorded 12 shutouts with opponents averaging less than a goal per game at 0.74.

GSC has recorded six straight shutouts dating back to October 12 when the streak began in a 2-0 win over Jones College (Miss.).

Shavers was named to the GCAA/Region 17 All-Region first team while sophomore defender Brittany Colangelo (Kennesaw, Ga. / Harrison High School) made the All-Region second team.

Follow GSC women’s soccer at www.gscathletics.com or https://www.gordonstate.edu.