"It's always tougher when you're close," UTC Head Coach J.D. Kyzer said. "Unfortunately we been here before, we've lived this several time this season. We play to win and we don't let this get us down. It's a perfect team to have. They work hard the entire game."
Junior Becca Smith (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) scored the Mocs lone goal to cut the Bulldogs lead in half, but it wouldn't be enough despite Chattanooga's efforts late in the contest. After Smith's goal, the Mocs had four shots, all on goal, with three from senior Donna-Kay Henry (Queens Village, N.Y.) and one from Smith.
Samford wrapped up the Southern Conference regular season title and top seed in the upcoming league tournament over the weekend and remained undefeated in SoCon action with the win tonight moving to 11-5-2 overall and 9-0-2 against the league.
The Bulldogs got on the board in the 15th minute on a goal from Michelle Moll from 25 yards out. Trine Tuale was credited with an assist on the score. Lindsay Matern, who would later be ejected from the game along with the Mocs Kelsey Swann, scored the game winner on a free kick from just outside the box on the left side at the 26:24 mark of the game.
Henry led all players with seven shots, three on goal while Smith added three shots with two on goal and one score. Sophomore keeper Taylor Mangrum (Franklin, Tenn.) pulled in eight saves on the night, adding to her league-leading total.
Smith's goal tied the school record set by Chattanooga's Diana Jallo in 2003 of 16 in one season. She now has 30 for her career, third all-time at UTC behind Jallo (37) and Henry (31). Smith set a school record for points with 37 on the year and trails both Jallo (87) and Henry (78) on the all-time charts with 74.
"This is the difference between a player who plays healthy and one who plays hurt," Kyzer said of Smith who was injured her sophomore season after an outstanding freshman campaign. "She's done a great job for us in terms of stability and consistency. "She never complained about it. When she's not injured, she's a force."
The game was the last for seniors Henry and Danielle Barr (Hixson, Tenn.). Henry ranks 10th all time for games played and seventh for games started. She is second on Chattanooga's all-time scoring charts and goals chart. Her eight assists this season is third best in school history and her 31 career goals is second on the UTC career charts. Barr scored three goals over her career as a defender. She played in 67 games over her career and started 52.
"Danielle and D.K. were the foundation for everything we do that is right," Kyzer said. "Danielle was the calming factor on the field. She was the quiet storm who worked hard to get the job done.
"D.K. is irreplaceable. There's never been anyone in the conference like her and I dare say, not another like her for many, many years to come. She's a selfless player who never asked for credit. All of the PK's that Becca took this year were because of fouls drawn by D.K."
The Mocs season has come to an end, but Kyzer is already looking forward to the spring.
"I'm excited by what we have. We're right there and we will work on stuff in the spring. I think it's about to turn."