Soccer team loses opener
The women’s soccer team lost its season opener to the top-10 ranked Lenoir-Rhyne Bears by 2-0 on the opening day of the L-R Classic in Hickory, N.C.
Both teams were fairly evenly matched until the Bears broke the stalemate just before halftime. Lenoir-Rhyne again scored in the 76th minute to make the score 2-0. Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Cornelius recorded a save to keep the score from increasing anymore.
The Bobcats had 14 shots throughout the match, with only seven on target, but none of them found the back of the net. Seven different players attempted to get past the keeper, but sophomore forward Ashley Veilleux led the charge against Lenoir-Rhyne with four shots.
The two teams committed a total of nine fouls, but both were able to escape without any disciplinary action by the referee.
The Bobcats finally broke onto the score sheet and the win column in their second match against Lees-McRae College, winning 1-0 over the LMC Bobcats.
Both teams were scoreless as they entered the second period of play. The breakthrough goal came from sophomore substitute forward Erin Griffin, after sophomore defender Kessler Matheson wrestled possession away from LMC in the 74th minute to cross the ball into the box to set up the goal for Griffin.
“Kessler crossed the ball from the left side of the field,” Griffin said. “There was no one on me so I took one or two touches and flicked it past the keeper.”
GC finished the game with 12 total shots, with eight finding the target. Brittaney Borror, Rebekah Autry and Veilleux split the shot count with two each which forced LMC’s goalkeeper into seven total saves.
LMC also tested GC during the match, managing to double GC’s total at 24 shots, but half of them failed to find the target. Of the 12 shots on goal from LMC, sophomore keeper Taylor Cornelius saved four. Annie Stephens, Cornelius’ replacement for the second half, stopped seven shots, which included four corner kicks.
“We like to stay man-marked on corner kicks, and I try to know my range, but we as a team try to limit corner kicks,” Stephens said.
One close call came during a Lees-McRae breakaway opportunity.
“There was a breakaway that they had,” Stephens said. “For breakaways, you have to throw your entire body ahead of (the ball), and of course it bounced off my head.”
The final score was nothing new to GC players and fans, as the Bobcats’ last six victories have been shutouts dating back to the 2010 season.
“It says a lot about our defense, because there is a lot of focus there,” Head Coach Hope Clark said. “It says a lot about the girls, as we have a whole new back line this year. The goalkeeping unit has also always been strong for us, because we have three great goalkeepers who constantly compete for playing time.”
Both teams committed a total of 10 fouls, but neither team went into the referee’s book.
The next showing for the Bobcats is at home on Sept. 7 against NOVA Southeastern at home as part of the Bobcat Shootout tournament.
“We know the crowd is going to be phenomenal. The girls are ready to play under the lights at home, so the motivation comes from the home crowd which we hope will help us overcome a very tough opponent in NOVA Southeastern,” Clark said.