The Lady Eagles (15-3-2) lost AAC player of the year Krista Barikos just 8 minutes into the game, when the senior slipped as she defended a Montreat player.
“Days like this are why I coach,” Reinhardt coach Andy Kaplan said in a university release. “For this team to lose its best player 8 minutes into the game and to come together and play its best game of the season is just special.”
Montreat had six shots in the first half, but Taylor Asher made the two needed saves in the half.
Reinhardt’s goal came in the 21st minute of play.
The Lady Eagles earned a throw-in deep in the offensive third of the field. After a scramble for the ball, Hale found the ball on her foot. The freshman laced a shot from the right side of the box across the goalkeeper and into the bottom-left corner of the net to give Reinhardt the lead.
Montreat was controlling the flow in the early stages of the second half, but one shot made the difference.
Clegg, the former Sequoyah High School standout, took the ball away from a defender, and as the Montreat goalkeeper drifted a bit away from the goal, the sophomore chipped a shot from 30 yards away that floated over into the back of the net.
From there, the flow of the game changed.
After Montreat standout Lauren Cantin went to the sidelines with an injury, Reinhardt was able to keep possession of the ball longer and generate more chances.
Montreat didn’t have a shot for the last 25 minutes, in large part due to the play of Reinhardt all-tournament players Asher, Katie Hale and Ashley Yarger.
Stephanie Goins also made the all-tournament team and was named the tournament MVP.
Reinhardt advanced to the NAIA tournament with the automatic bid and will find out this afternoon who it will draw in the opening round.