Eight players were named to the All-Peach Belt Conference teams on Thursday, but it was another Lady Cougar that stole the show as the fifth-ranked and top-seeded Columbus State University women's soccer team defeated UNC Pembroke 3-1 in the PBC Tournament semifinals. The match was played at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga.
With the win, the Columbus State (18-0-1) advances to the PBC Championship game for the eighth time in 11 seasons. CSU will play the winner of No. 16 North Georgia and Clayton State, which will play later tonight.
It was Kiana Nicholson who took control of the match early for the Lady Cougars netting a pair of goals in the opening half.
In the 20th minute, the 2011 PBC Freshman of the Year collected a ball at the top of the box and launched a perfect shot into the left corner of the net to get the scoring started.
Twelve minutes later, Shelby Rolling played a ball into the box that found the foot of Nicholson once again. Nicholson went high with this opportunity chipping it over the keeper, off the crossbar and into the goal. It was the first multi-goal game of the season for the Marietta, Ga. native, adding to the three she picked up as a freshman.
Nicholson nearly put a hat trick on the board in the 34th minute, but her one-timer sailed high of the net.
UNC Pembroke (11-5-3) attempted just one shot in the first 45 minutes, on which Maylyn Parsons made an easy save.
The Braves finally broke through with just over 13 minutes to play, as the Lady Cougars allowed an own goal off a corner kick.
The icing on the cake came with just minutes to play. Following a foul in the box, Nicholson capped off a monumental night with her third goal of the match. The hat trick was the first by a Lady Cougar since 2011, when Nicholson netted three against Montevallo.
Columbus State outshot the Braves 16-3 on the night.