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WWAY's Sunday night sports - August 19; Hammerheads earn playoff spot

READ MORE: WWAY's Sunday night sports - August 19

TAMPA, FL (USL Pro release) -- The USL PRO Playoffs field was set on Sunday night, as the Wilmington Hammerheads and Harrisburg City Islanders claimed the final two playoff places on the final day of the regular season earlier on Sunday. Sunday’s results left Orlando City and the Rochester Rhinos as the top two teams in USL PRO’s regular season, earning the two teams a bye to the semifinals on the weekend of August 31-September 2.

The Rhinos claimed the second bye to the semifinals as the Richmond Kickers were upended 2-0 by Antigua Barracuda FC, with the bottom club in USL PRO ending their season on a high through first-half goals by Quinton Griffith and Randolph Burton. The Kickers instead will claim the No.4 seed in the playoffs, and will host the No.5 seed Wilmington Hammerheads next Saturday night at City Stadium at 7 p.m.

The Hammerheads clinched their place in the playoffs as they took a 2-1 victory against the Charlotte Eagles on Sunday night in a contest that weather forced to be rescheduled from Friday night. Corey Hertzog and Steven Perry scored for the Hammerheads, with Perry’s goal coming 13 minutes from full time after he had been brought on as a substitute.

Charlotte was then knocked out of the playoffs as Harrisburg took a 1-0 victory against the Los Angeles Blues to claim the No.6 seed and a contest with the No.3 seed Charleston Battery next Saturday night at Blackbaud Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET. Second-half substitute Yann Ekra scored the only goal of the game in the 66th minute for the City Islanders, who moved one point ahead of the Eagles with their victory.

Orlando City and the Rochester Rhinos will face the two quarterfinals winners the following weekend, with the lower remaining seed traveling to face the regular-season champion Lions, and the higher remaining seed travelling to face the Rhinos. Both semifinals will be played on Friday, August 31, with the Lions hosting at the Florida Citrus Bowl at 7:30 p.m. ET and the Rhinos hosting at 7:35 p.m. at Sahlen’s Stadium.

For live updates from both of this weekend’s quarterfinals, plus news, features, previews and game reports from throughout USL PRO, follow the league on Twitter (@USLPRO) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/USLPRO). A full schedule for this weekend’s action can be found below.

USL PRO PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE

Quarterfinals

Saturday, August 25

No.5 Wilmington Hammerheads at No.4 Richmond Kickers, 7 p.m. ET

No.6 Harrisburg City Islanders at No.3 Charleston Battery, 7:30 p.m. ET, USLNation

Semifinals

Friday, August 31

Lower remaining seed at No.1 Orlando City, 7:30 p.m. ET, USLNation

Higher remaining seed at No.2 Rochester Rhinos, 7:35 p.m. ET, USLNation

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BLACKSBURG, VA (UNCW sports release) -- BLACKSBURG, Virginia – Senior keeper Caitlin Hunter recorded 10 saves to lead UNCW to a 0-0 draw against No. 3 Wake Forest in collegiate women’s soccer action at the Hilton Garden Inn Hokie Invitational Sunday at Thompson Field.

The Seahawks moved to 0-1-1 on the season with the scoreless draw while the Demon Deacons moved to 1-0-1 on the young campaign. Both teams return to action Aug. 26 with road contests. UNCW completes its season-opening road swing with a 2 p.m. contest at No. 7 Virginia while Wake Forest travels to in-state foe Charlotte for a 1 p.m. matchup.

“Today was another tough battle against a quality opponent,” said UNCW Head Coach Paul Cairney. “Wake Forest is an incredibly well-coached team with talented players all over the field. Once they establish a rhythm, they are hard to beat as they maintained possession very well. As the game wore on, however, we grew in confidence and had a few quality chances to score and win it in the second half. We need to build off this result and get better this week as we prepare to compete against a talented Virginia squad.”
Wake Forest posted a 15-5 shot advantage during the contest, including an 8-1 edge in the first half, but was unable to solve Hunter, who tallied nine saves in regulation and made more one stop in overtime to keep the Demon Deacons off the board.

The best chance for either team to get on the board came in the 36th minute as a shot from sophomore Riley Ridgik found the post.

Five players – seniors Jen Ludemann and Stephanie Rose and freshmen Lindsey Byrne, Katrina Guillou and Maddie McCormick – all finished with one shot apiece for the Seahawks. Junior Aubrey Bledsoe posted four saves in goal for the Demon Deacons.

“I am amazed at our team’s toughness and resilience,” said Cairney. “Our attackers have established a great personality and have meshed well thus far. At the back, we are getter better with every game. We hope to get a win in our next game.”

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