A historic season – capped with a historic highlight shown on ESPN – was set back by a tournament tie and shootout loss for the women’s soccer team, who finished the season undefeated at 16-0-4 (6-0-1 in conference). Hosting Covenant College in the USA South Quarterfinals, the Lady Lions dominated the game, outshooting the Scots 21-6, but battled to a 1-1 tie, eventually losing the game 4-3 in a shootout.
After the tournament, the Lions played one more game against Emory University, winning on an 89th minute goal by senior midfielder Savannah Castles. The heroic goal, preserving an undefeated season for the Lions, was featured as the #6 play of the day on ESPN Sportscenter’s “Top Ten” during the 1 a.m. broadcast of the show on Nov. 3.
Castles and junior forward Cassidy Reich were named first-team, All-Conference. Reich also earned “Player of the Year” honors from the USA South Conference, the top honor given to an athlete. Reich, Castles and senior defender Abbey Dunlop were also named to the All-South Atlantic Region Team. Castles and Reich were also named to the Academic All-American team, along with sophomore defender Devin Haupt.
Reich wrapped up the season leading the team with 14 goals and 10 assists, good for 38 points. Her 10 assists also led the conference, and her 38 points ranked her third. In goal, freshman Miranda McNalley finished with a save percentage of .869, ranking third in conference.
Along with Castles and Dunlop, seniors on the team included Courtney Bell, Tori Gillett, Erin Bright, Shayna Healy and Alexis Gottko.
After opening the season with a 5-1 record, the men’s soccer team went 4-6 the rest of the way, finishing in second place in the USA South West Division with a 9-7 record (6-5 in conference). Hosting a USA South playoff game for the first time since 2013, Piedmont was matched up against Covenant College, who for the second time this season shut out the Lions, winning 3-0 and ending their season.
In his farewell season, senior Chase Kane led the Lions with 14 goals, ranking fourth in conference. Sophomore Victor Munoz led the team with five assists. In goal, junior Elliot Sailes stopped 69 shots for a save percentage of .742.
Named first-team All-Conference, Kane wrapped up his Piedmont College career with 36 goals, fourth in Lions’ history. Kane’s also proved successful in the classroom, being named to the Academic All-District Team for the second consecutive year, along with teammate junior Nathan Metzger. Junior midfielder Cooper Donnelly was named to the All-Sportsmanship Team.
Along with Kane, Piedmont will graduate senior defender Griffin Giles.
Despite having a young squad, with seven freshmen and five sophomores making up the majority of the 16-woman team, the Lady Lions finished the season in third place in the USA South West Division with a 16-11 record (8-4 in conference). After sweeping Agnes Scott College in their first match in the conference tournament, the Lions’ season ended with a 3-2 loss to Maryville College in the USA South Quarterfinals.
Sophomore Anna Wright led the team with 209 kills during the season. Defensively, junior Haley Hixon paced the Lions with 586 digs, an average of 5.63 per game, ranking third in conference. Katelyn Durmire, the lone senior on the team, led the squad with 105 blocks, an average of 1.03 per game, also third-best in the conference for the season.
For the second consecutive year, Durmire and Hixon were both named to the USA South West Division All-Conference first team. Freshman Hannah Collins was named to the conference’s All-Sportsmanship team, and junior Kaitlyn Loesel was named to the Academic All-District Team.