Senior forward Meggie Graham made her senior day a memorable one, as her 107th minute double-overtime goal gave Appalachian State University women’s soccer the 2-1 victory over College
of Charleston Sunday afternoon at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex. With the heart-stopping victory, the Mountaineers move to 9-7-1 overall and 6-3-1 in the Southern Conference, putting them in fourth-place in the standings. With a win on Wednesday against Western Carolina, the Apps would clinch a home match in the SoCon tournament for the first time in the program’s history.
Graham’s game-winner was her first game-winning goal of the season and second of her career. With just three minutes left on the clock, the senior received a pass from sophomore forward Julia Holz and lofted the ball over Charleston goalkeeper Eli Sarasola from 18 yards out. For Graham, it was her third goal of the season and gives her the second-most points on the team with 11.
“Our team had two goals coming in to the last part of the season and that was to make the conference tournament and to win on senior day,” head coach Sarah Strickland said. “We really had to stay committed to what we had to do and we found a way to win. Meggie’s shot was unbelievable and I really am proud of the girls with the way they have played through a lot of adversity and injury. This senior class is so special and I’m glad we could do this for them.”
The Appalachian offense stayed silinet in the first 45 minutes, as College of Charleston (5-11-1, 4-5-1) controlled possession for most of the first half, outshooting the Mountaineers 7-2. In the 26th minute, CofC looked to have scored the opening goal of the match when McCallie Jones floated in a shot past freshman goalkeeper Megan Roberson, but senior Taylor Dunlap was positioned on the back post goal line and headed it away.
In the second half, App State broke the scoreless deadlock when Graham found an opening in the Cougar backline. The Marietta, Ga. native found just enough room to feed Holz a short pass in the CofC box. Holz lifted a shot over Sarasola’s head for the 55th minute goal. With the goal, Holz becomes just the ninth Appalachian player to record eight or more goals in a season.
Charleston quickly responded in the 67th minute when a shot by CofC’s Jackie Weston bounced off the crossbar to the feet of Sarah Schaidle, who finished the chance for her third goal of the season.
The next best chance for the Cougars came in the 97th minute when Nicole Koretsky broke free of the defense and rocketed a shot over the head of Roberson, but the ball hit the crossbar, giving new life to the Mountaineers.
Graham ended the game with her 20-yard towering loft over Sarasola, giving Appalachian its ninth victory of the season, the most for the program since 2007.
“It is an unbelievable feeling,” Graham said. “I could not have asked for a better day, especially to share it with the three other girls that I have been playing with for four years. It was a great way to end the day.”
Roberson finished the match with six saves, including four in the opening 45 minutes. Graham and Holz were joined by freshman Kebrina Keys to record the only shots on goal, totaling four for the match.
The Mountaineers currently sit in fourth place in the conference standings, one point behind Furman. Appalachian looks to end the season on a high note when it hosts Western Carolina on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Kickoff from the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex is set for 7 p.m.
Photo Courtesy: Meggie Graham, ASU Athletics