Sophomore forward Julia Holz’s goal in the eighth minute was all Appalachian State University women’s soccer needed, as the Mountaineers earned their second conference victory of the season over Georgia Southern 1-0 Friday night at the
Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex. Battling injuries to starters Jenna Caudle and Sam Neill and key reserve player, Kate Ward, the Apps improve their record to an even 5-5 overall mark and 2-1 in Southern Conference play. GSU falls to 5-3-3 overall and 1-2 in the league.
“Thankfully we’re pretty deep on this year’s team and we have so many girls that stepped up,” head coach Sarah Strickland said. “I thought the girls definitely came to play tonight.”
The Mountaineers did not waste much time getting on the scoreboard as senior midfielder Hannah Coad slipped a pass through the GSU defenders to the feet of Holz. Holz was able to get a touch before chipping in the shot over the head of a diving Georgia Southern goalkeeper, Katie Merson. For the sophomore, it was her fourth goal of the season, propelling the forward to the team’s leading scorer.
After the goal, Appalachian’s defense shined for the entire opening half, allowing Georgia Southern to fire off just three shots for the first 45 minutes. The defense continued the pressure in the second half, claiming their third clean sheet of the season. Freshman goalkeeper Megan Roberson tallied three saves on the night as the Eagles took just seven shots for the match.
“I thought the backline played really clean tonight,” Strickland said. “Our team defending was great overall, our girls earned this win.”
App State was on the attacking end for most of the match, getting off 15 shots as four came on goal. Holz led the team with two shots on goal, while freshman defender Merlin Beckwith and freshman forward Samantha Childress each troubled Merson once.
The focus now shifts to Davidson on Sunday, Sept. 30, a team the Mountaineers lost to in 2011, 3-0. If the Mountaineers earn a victory over the Wildcats, it will be the first time Appalachian has defeated both GSU and Davidson in the same season since 2009.
“This conference is difficult because there isn’t a game to rest for,” Strickland said. “We have got to turn around and play a great side like Davidson after we played a great Georgia Southern team tonight.”
Kickoff against the Wildcats from the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex is set for 2 p.m.
Photo Courtesy: Julia Holz, ASU Athletics