scored the game-winning goal in the 66th minute
and Morgan Symmers
combined for the shutout
*Mason moved into a tie for third place in the A-10 with 16 points
DAVIDSON, N.C. –
Mason junior forward Nia Elbeck
scored the game-winning goal in the second half of play as the Patriots defeated Davidson 1-0 on Sunday at Alumni Stadium in Davidson, N.C.
With the win, the Patriots are guaranteed a spot in the Atlantic 10 Tournament with two regular-season games remaining.
Mason (8-8-1, 5-2-1 A-10) and Davidson (2-14-1, 0-7-1 A-10) played a defensive first half, with the two teams combining for just three shots on goal. Elbeck recorded the lone shot on goal for the Patriots in the first 45 minutes of play.
The Wildcats have held opponents scoreless in the first half of play in five of their last six games.
In the 66th minute, Elbeck took advantage of a turnover and netted the eventual game-winning goal. After stealing the ball from a Wildcats defender, she worked her way past the Davidson goalkeeper and scored her second goal of the season into a wide open net to put the Patriots in front 1-0.
"Nia showed really good composure in that situation to finish her chance the right way," Mason head coach Todd Bramble
said. "I'm really happy with Nia's awareness in that situation and her ability to finish that chance."
The Patriots earned their first conference road win of the season. With the victory, Mason moved into a tie for third place in the A-10 with 16 points and clinched a spot in the conference tournament for the third straight season.
"It's something that we've talked a lot about," Bramble said. "We knew that was the first thing we wanted to really focus on, doing what we could to get into postseason play. Not all of our games that we have are going to be home games, so if we are going to have a special season we are going to have to be able to win on the road at some point. That was a big point of emphasis for us today."
Mason improved to 7-0-0 this season when scoring the first goal of the game. The Patriots are 5-2-1 against Atlantic 10 opponents and 8-2-1 overall in their last 11 games.
The Patriots have scored 17 of their 26 goals this season in the second half, while the Wildcats have been outscored 24-10 in the second half of play. Davidson is scoreless in October and has been held without a goal in each of its last six games. The Wildcats are winless in conference play with a record of 0-7-1.
"There's a deep level of determination and we're a deep team as well," Bramble said of the team's success after the half. "We use our reserves in the way that we do to keep everybody fresh and I think that pays dividends in the second half of games."
Mason finished with an 11-10 advantage in shots, including 5-4 in shots on goal. The Patriots had four corner kicks and the Wildcats had just one.
Elbeck has a four-game point streak, with two goals and two assists over her last four contests. Freshman Kayla Hamric
led the Patriots with three shots in the game.
Mason has had seven different players net a game-winning goal this season.
Freshman goalkeeper Louisa Moser
(7-4-1, 4-1-1 A-10) made three saves to earn the win. Junior Morgan Symmers
replaced Moser in the 66th minute and registered one save in the second half. Davidson senior goalkeeper Becca Ravitz recorded four saves in the match.
Bramble recorded his 30th career win as Mason's head coach.
"That speaks to the leadership that we have, the team and our staff," Bramble said. "We never at any point, even early in the season, stopped believing in what this team could accomplish."
The Patriots play their final regular-season home game on Thursday against La Salle with the kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. at George Mason Stadium.