Appalachian State University women’s soccer scored the first two goals of the match, but could not hold off UNC Greensboro, falling 3-2 in the Southern Conference opener Friday night at Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex. With
the heartbreaking loss, the Mountaineers dropped their fifth match of the season, moving to 3-5. The comeback by the Spartans improves their overall record to 4-5.
“I thought UNCG came out and did a really great job and defended hard,” head coach Sarah Strickland said. “They really made our backline work hard tonight and I felt like there were opportunities for both teams and it was a great match. We definitely have to rebound.”
The Apps started the first conference match off quickly in the 21st minute as sophomore forward Jenna Caudle tallied her third goal of the season as UNCG goalkeeper Jamie Simmons misplayed a pass from senior Sam McVeigh and Caudle tabbed the ball into the net. For McVeigh, it was her first assist of her career. Caudle’s goal propels her into a tie for the most goals on the season with sophomore Julia Holz.
UNCG’s best opportunity of the first half came in the 40th minute when two consecutive shots within 11 seconds from each other beat Appalachian goalkeeper Megan Roberson, but bounced off the crossbar. The Mountaineers took the 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
App State started the second half where they left off as in the 57th minute, senior forward Meggie Graham grabbed a UNCG turnover at midfield and outran the UNCG defense, beating Simmons for the Mountaineers’ second goal. For Graham, the goal was her second of the season.
“I’m very proud of our forwards and how they played tonight,” Strickland said. “They created opportunities but (Jamie) Simmons was outstanding, she made some big saves in critical moments of the match.”
The Spartans responded quickly in the 57th minute when Ashley Strokes got behind the Appalachian backline and put a shot behind Roberson for UNCG’s first goal of the night. UNC Greensboro continued to put pressure on the App State backline, totaling 12 shots for the entire second half. The Spartans made the score even when Zoe Fishman fired a shot into the back of the net off an assist from Karin Sendel. For Fishman, it was her first goal of the season.
The Apps had one last chance in regulation and Caudle found some room in the UNCG defense, but could not get enough power behind the shot to trouble Simmons in goal, closing out the end of regulation. After a scoreless first period of overtime that saw just one shot on goal, Holz had an opportunity in the 107th minute as her shot went over the crossbar, giving UNCG a goal kick. The Spartans took advantage of the possession as they drove down the field and Tinna Bergthorsdottir was left alone in App State and received a pass from Stokes. Bergthorsdottir flicked in the goal off the pass to clinch the UNCG victory.
The Apps will have to bounce back in a hurry as they will head to Elon on Sunday, Sept. 23.
“When you go double-overtime, you have to get your legs back under you and get ready for Sunday,” Strickland said. “We have to work on finishing opportunities and composure in the final third and just rebounding as a team in general. We need to refocus on our goal which is the conference tournament.”
Kickoff against the Phoenix is set for 2 p.m.
Photo Courtesy: Jenna Caudle, ASU Athletics