ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville women's soccer team will take part in the 2011 Big South Conference championships at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. starting on Thursday when the eighth-seeded Bulldogs take on top-seeded Radford at 2 p.m. Thursday's match will be video-streamed and can be seen for a small fee at www.uncabulldogs.com.
Asheville (4-15, 3-7-0 BSC) hopes to end a four-game losing streak against the Highlanders. The Bulldogs fell at home on Saturday to Liberty, 3-0 in their last match. Asheville lost at Radford back on Oct. 1, 1-0 on a goal in the first minute of play.
"We're glad to be in the tournament and right now everyone's record is 0-0," commented Bulldog coach Michelle Demko. "I wish we had played a little better coming in but our focus is all on Radford right now. In a tournament, anything is possible and hopefully we can turn things around on Thursday."
The Bulldog women's soccer program has enjoyed success in the Big South Tournaments over the years. Asheville has won the tournament in 1995 and 2006. It has advanced to the championship game seven different times (1995, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007). The Bulldogs didn't qualify for the tournament the last two seasons but from 2002-2008, Asheville advanced to the semifinals six times and to the title game four times. The Bulldogs last tournament appearance came in 2008 when a seventh-seeded Asheville squad lost to second-seeded Radford, 2-1 in overtime. The Highlanders went on to win the tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs hope to rewrite some tournament history vs. Radford. Asheville is 0-3 all-time vs. the Highlanders, losing in the 1998 and 2002 conference title games and in quarterfinals in 2008.
Sophomore forward Amanda Knapp leads the Bulldogs in scoring with six goals, four assists and 16 points. Leilani Halkiotis, Kaitlyn Eckert and Ferriss Roberts are next with five goals each. Freshman goalkeeper Heather Muller has played every minute of every match this season, recording two shutouts and making 108 saves.