Women’s Soccer wins thriller vs Army

Madison Wyker/The Carolinian

Madison Wyker/The Carolinian

By Terrence Hinds, Staff Writer

Published in print Sept. 3, 2014

In thrilling fashion, Coach Michael Coll’s UNCG Women’s soccer team earned their first home win of the season over Army Friday evening to finish the first week of the season at a 500. record of  2-2.

The Spartans controlled the flow and tempo of the game in the first half by having the advantage of time of possession, yet, entered halftime even at zero with West Point.

Though the Blue and Gold managed the pace of the first half, Coll’s company missed many opportunities to go ahead in the first 45 minutes.

Junior forward Chesney White had a handful of chances to breakaway for a goal but was either called off sides or Army’s goalie Jordan Cassalia, who was spectacular with seven saves for the game in defeat, stopped the Spartans’ shot attempts.

The beginning of the 2nd half was a completely different story for the Blue and Gold who faced an aggressive Army team to begin the first moments of the final half.

The Black Knights came out with a renewed sense of purpose and a lot more energy than they had in the first half where they were primarily on the defensive.

West Point began to impose their will on the Spartans which led to their first goal just 7 minutes into the 2nd half as  junior Katie Holder was able to find the back of the net off of a pass from her teammate Bailey Widman. This put the Black Knights up by one.

The early second half goal was definitely a setback for the Spartans but instead of folding and possibly conceding another goal, the Blue and Gold responded by clamping down defensively.

For the next 27 minutes, the Spartans would look for the equalizer by unleashing a barrage of shots on Cassalia to little success.

However, one shot broke through for UNCG when Junior midfielder Zoe Fishman received a pass from sophomore Rebecca Burrows and crossed a nice ball inside the box for Candice Forbes to finish off. 

Coach Coll did not seem as surprised about the goal as the 750 people in attendance.

Making halftime adjustments to combat the strong Army defense, Coll expected his team to be prepared in the second half.

“We had a plan to change our formation a little bit so we knew we were going to respond well when we changed the formation because it is an even more attacking formation than we were using so they responded exactly how we had drawn it up,” Coll said.

Certainly, for a heavy crowd which featured mostly Spartan fans, the goal was an exciting moment for a game which looked to be controlled by Army.

For the next 9 minutes the energy in the stands and on the field jumped up a couple notches as the home fans were pushing for the Spartans to get that game winning goal.

The intensity of the game from the crowd translated onto the field as the clock kept climbing to 90 minutes, the players on the field to got a little chippy and physical in the  second half.

Surprisingly the Spartans were whistled for many more fouls (10 to 3) throughout the game than the Black Knights. When asked about the officiating Coach Coll said simply “I thought it was poor.”

Even through a heavy whistle, the Blue and Gold continued to push for that go ahead goal.

Finally with just 30 seconds to go in the game, senior captain Ashley Stokes found Forbes inside the box again and she buried her second goal of the game which turned out to be the game winning one.

The fans erupted as all the players on the field celebrated the score. It was an exhilarating moment.

For Coach Coll, the game was his first home win as Spartans’ coach and he was proud of the team’s accomplishment. “It was tremendous especially in the way that we did it, scoring with 30 seconds left,” Coll stated. “I’m elated, & I’m delighted for the players.”

The Spartans will look to extend their two game winning streak when they travel to West Virginia to participate in a two game tournament starting Friday against Indiana State at 5 p.m.

Categories: madison wyker, Sports, terrence hinds

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