The battle between youth and experience exuded at the 2010 Atlantic Sun Conference Women’s Soccer Championship final with the Mercer Bears putting six seniors on the pitch, while only one Jacksonville Dolphin senior saw the field. However, through all of that experience for Mercer a freshman created the last image of the championship, scoring the decisive game-winner.
Nadja Kolliesuah only played in 16 games coming into Saturday’s showdown between the two top seeds and had tallied one goal up to that point, but a corner kick from Lizzy Shaughnessy deflected by Patricia-Anne Upson landed at the feet of the Columbus, Ohio native.
With one strike from the left side of the box Kolliesuah’s shot drove into the corner of the net past the diving Alexa Rooney as the freshman put the senior-laden Bears in front 1-0 only one minute into the second half.
“As a freshman, it was really exciting to score the game-winner in the A-Sun Championship game,” Kolliesuah said of the match-deciding shot. “Even if someone else had scored the goal for us it would have been extremely exciting, but I’m just glad that I could help out our team with the goal.”
Despite the strike from the freshman, Mercer’s seniors set the tone for the championship final with Kacie Hudson and Raschelle Riley disturbing the Dolphins offensive attack holding their offense to a minimal three shots, one of which on frame, while midfielders Shaughnessy and Kaelyn Horton possessed the ball for the Bears throughout the game and played great passes down the sidelines to forwards Sara Elliot and Lauren Johnson.
“All of our seniors were major contributors particularly today and we relied on them quite a bit this season,” Mercer head coach Grant Serafy stated of his seven seniors. “We were hard on them this whole year and they really came through today and I think was the difference in the game.”
For the Dolphins, they wrap their season up with a 13-5-2 record, but the future is bright for Jacksonville as they return ten of the starters from the A-Sun Final including all-tournament team members Courtney Conrad, Liz Fink and Lisa Hensley.
Serafy added of today’s opposition, “Jacksonville has a really talented team and a great coaching staff so they will rebound from this game and it’s not going to detract from their season at all because they accomplished a lot this year.”
This class of Mercer seniors has twice had to rebound from losses in A-Sun finals in their careers, but this time around the Bears upperclassmen came out victorious with the program’s first A-Sun Championship.