NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – There was jumping, shouting, a little singing and a lot of cheering at midfield of the ODU Soccer Complex on Sunday evening. The Monarchs, in front of a loud and packed house of 1,139, celebrated a 2-1 win over South Carolina and a conference tournament title; the school’s first ever since joining Conference USA.
“It’s very emotional,” said 18-year Head Coach Alan Dawson.
Senior Sydney Rivera scored his team-leading seventh goal in the 18th minute of play to give ODU a 1-0 lead, while Junior Geoffrey Hill scored just his second goal of the year in the 75th minute, which gave the Monarchs a 2-0 lead.
The Gamecocks fought back, and managed to the cut that lead in half with a goal in the 81st minute. The home team dodged a big bullet just a few minutes later when USC leading scorer Mikkel Knudsen hit the post on a breakaway opportunity that score would have tied the game.
Instead, the Monarchs hung on and celebrated their historic win.
“We’re the first team to win a conference title, and we’re very proud of that,” said Dawson, “It’s tough gettng to this point. We played two really good teams to get here, and we played another really good team today. I’m really proud of the boys, and we’ve come a long way this year.”
Now, they’ll wait until Monday to find out who they’ll face in the first round of the NCAA tournament, which starts Nov. 20. “If you lose this one today, you’re limping into the tournament,” said Dawson, “We’re kicking the door in, and we’re looking forward to it.”