HARDEEVILLE -- The University of South Carolina Beaufort women's soccer team's three-game winning streak -- and its season -- came to an end Thursday, as the Sand Sharks dropped a 3-1 decision to SCAD Savannah in the quarterfinals of the Sun Conference Tournament at the SCAD Athletics Complex.
The seventh-seeded Sand Sharks put up a strong challenge, and the match was tied 1-1 through 81 minutes before the second-seeded Bees (12-6) scored twice in the final 8:45 to advance.
The Bees put the pressure on early and broke through in the 15th minute, as Kelly McCay cleaned up a rebound off a Lisa Singleton shot to open the scoring.
USCB (7-11) recovered and found the equalizer in the 36th minute, when junior Alexandria Radue blasted a free kick from 25 yards that squirted through goalkeeper Sara Hall's outstretched hands and into the net, setting off a celebration from a large contingent of USCB fans and students who made the short trip.
"The students, faculty, parents and friends made this an unbelievable environment," USCB coach Ed Heberling said. "Their support fueled our team on the field. We have the greatest fans in small college athletics."
Sand Sharks goalkeeper Chelsie Mummert was outstanding in her final collegiate game, stopping 12 shots on goal including numerous highlight-worthy saves to keep USCB in it.
The Bees finally got one past Mummert on a set piece in the 82nd minute. Alex Weinberg bent in a corner that Mummert was able to parry away, but the Sand Sharks couldn't clear it and Olivia Buechler punched in the go-ahead goal.
With USCB pushing forward in search of the equalizer, the Bees were able to counter and tack on a dagger 4 1/2 minutes later when Weinberg sent a cross to Meadhbh Deeney, who redirected it past Mummert.
It was the final collegiate game for four Sand Sharks -- goalkeepers Mummert and Fred Gallman and midfielders Steph Moldenhauer and DeAngelus Anderson -- whose careers were prolonged by one game when USCB won its final three regular-season games to claim the final playoff spot.
"I am proud of this team," Heberling said. "When we had our backs against the wall we fought back to early a playoff spot. Our seniors laid the foundation for our success, and without their commitment we would not be where we are."