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2024 W League Playoffs Preview: Southern Conference Semifinals

By Staff, 07/03/24, 12:00PM EDT


Florida Elite, AHFC Royals on quest to continue perfect seasons

The excitement is growing as we inch closer to the start of the 2024 W League Playoffs, which kicks off Friday, July 5. Up next for our Playoff Previews ahead of the first round is the Southern Conference. 

Don’t miss out on W League Playoffs news! Read the Central Conference and the Eastern Conference previews and follow along throughout the postseason on our playoffs hub page

Asheville City SC will host the Southern Conference playoffs at UNC Asheville’s Greenwood Field. The hosts will play Florida Elite Soccer Academy at 7:30 p.m. ET after the match between AHFC Royals and Tennessee SC at 4 p.m. ET. The winners will play in the Conference Final on July 7 at 7:30 p.m. 

Tickets can be purchased here

AHFC Royals vs. Tennessee SC 

These two teams were at the top of the W League Power Rankings nearly all season, so it will likely be a close match. The Royals finished their first season in the league with a perfect 10-0-0 record in the new Lone Star Division to make their playoffs debut. Meanwhile, Tennessee SC is back-to-back South Central Division champions and will try to make a deeper run this season after falling in the first round in 2023. 

AHFC Royals is one of the most well-balanced teams entering the playoffs. They tied for the fewest goals allowed all season (4) behind a strong backline featuring Texas A&M’s Margo Matula, Notre Dame’s Leah Klenke, Auburn commit Allison Goodwin and Texas Tech alum Rebekah O’Brien. Complementing their defense is an attack-minded offense that scored over 40 goals; Ole Miss forward Zoe Main led the way with 8 of her own. 

Tennessee SC offense will need to rely on Auburn’s Anna Haddock and Alabama commit Maddie Padelski, who have combined for 18 goals and have assisted each other multiple times throughout the season. The team has conceded late and given up leads a few times this summer, so the defense, led by goalkeeper and Vanderbilt alum Taiana Tolleson, needs to be strong to combat the Royals’ strikers. 

Florida Elite Soccer Academy vs. Asheville City SC 

Florida Elite and Asheville City both clinched a spot in the playoffs for the first time in either team’s history since joining the W League in 2022. Florida Elite had a tremendous turnaround this summer and won more games than they had in the last two seasons combined. On the other side, Asheville City closed out the season with a massive 4-1 win over Tennessee SC to secure a wild card bid. 

Florida Elite had its foot on the gas from the start of the season and did not let up. The team was the first to clinch a playoff spot and went on to secure a perfect record of 12-0-0. The team also scored the most goals this season (73), while its defense recorded nine shutouts, making them a tough opponent for Asheville City. 

The Southern Conference hosts battled all season long to earn their spot in the playoffs. After falling in the first match, Asheville City went 7-1-1 in its next nine matches to put them right behind Tennessee for most of the summer. With the momentum following that last big win and playing in front of their home crowd, Asheville has a lot of potential to make it out of the conference. 

Catch both matches live on SportsEngine Play, and follow the W League on Instagram and Twitter for playoff updates. 

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