ROCK HILL, S.C. - Picking up where it left off in Friday's semifinals, Wingate's potent offense scored four first-half goals on Sunday as the Bulldogs defeated top-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne, 4-2, for the program's first ever Food Lion SAC Women's Soccer Championship.
Wingate's victory secures an automatic berth in the NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Championship.
After blowing open its semifinal match against Newberry with four second-half goals, Wingate -- the Championship's No. 2 seed -- scored twice in the title match's first 15 minutes, establishing a lead it would not surrender.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring in the 13th minute, as sophomore defender Chandler Murphy beat L-R goalkeeper Caitlin Scruggs to find the right corner of the net. The goal was assisted by senior forward Kelly Adams, who was named the Championship's Most Valuable Player.
Less than 90 seconds later, Bulldog forward AJ Lightbody scored from 18 yards out to give her team a two-goal advantage.
SAC Player of the Year Catherine Hauck scored in the 31st minute to bring L-R - which finished the SAC regular season with a perfect 9-0 record - within one, but Wingate found the net again less than three minutes later to go up 3-1.
A goal from All-Tournament Team selection Jade Montgomery in the 43rd minute established a three-goal Wingate lead that wouldn't be touched until L-R's Hanna Kiebel scored off a free kick in the match's 75th minute.
Montgomery had a combined three goals in the semifinals and final to lead the Bulldogs.
The loss was just Lenoir-Rhyne's second of the season, and the Bears still figure to be in good shape when the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship field is announced at 7:30 p.m. Monday on a live NCAA.com webcast.
Joining Adams and Montgomery on the All-Tournament Team from Wingate were Murphy and senior midfielder Casey King. L-R was represented on the All-Tournament Team by defender Jessica Schob, midfielder Mariel Mena and midfielder Laura Linehan, who scored both of the Bears' semifinal goals two nights earlier.
The All-Tournament Team was rounded out Kaitlyn Neipp and Joelle
Puriton form Anderson and Cassie Smith and Megan Douglas from
2011 Food Lion SAC Soccer Championship - Women's All-Tournament Team
Kelly Adams, Wingate (MVP)
Casey King, Wingate
Jade Montgomery, Wingate
Chandler Murphy, Wingate
Laura Linehan, Lenoir-Rhyne
Mariel Mena, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jessica Schob, Lenoir-rhyne
Kaitlyn Neipp, Anderson
Joelle Purinton, Anderson
Megan Douglass, Newberry
Cassie Smith, Newberry