Eagles struggle over the weekend

Hayden Boudreaux

It was a weekend of frustration for the Georgia Southern University women’s soccer team as Southern Conference opponents Appalachian State University (4-4-2, SoCon 2-0-2) and Western Carolina University (6-5-1, SoCon 1-3) defeated GSU.

On Friday night, tensions were high at Eagle Field as the old Southern Conference rivalry resurfaced as App. State kicked off against GSU.

The Eagles fell behind early. At the 12 minute mark App. State flicked a pass inside the box to a forward who was able to put the ball past junior goalkeeper Molly Williams. A minute later the Mountaineers found another seam and capitalized on a shot from inside the box, taking the lead 2-0.

Sophomore forward Nora El-Shami was not going to go down easy. El-Shami dribbled up and sent a cross over to senior forward Alex Murphy who used her head to knock the ball past the App. State keeper.

Just as the comeback was being mounted App. State scored on a corner kick to put the game out of reach for the Eagles at 3-1.

Statistically, it was a good game for the GSU offense. As a team they compiled 17 shots on the night, six of them coming from El-Shami. On defense Williams recorded three saves.

Murphy was happy with her team’s offensive performance.

“Offensively we are getting better and better. Unfortunately defensively it was not as good a game as we wanted,” Murphy said.

The sun was beating down on Sunday afternoon as the Eagles and WCU went through pre-game warm ups.

Things looked promising for GSU in the first half. In the 25th minute sophomore mid-fielder Cori Dulmage threw the ball in to the top of the box, and found El-Shami, as she pounded the ball into the net to make it 1-0.

The game appeared to be wrapping up until late in the second half when referees called a penalty inside the box on GSU and WCU lined up for a penalty kick. Williams said she knew which way the shot was going but the ball was just out of reach, tying the game.

With time winding down it was evident the frustration had gotten to the Eagle defense. In the 83rd minute the Catamounts put a beautiful shot into the back of the net taking the lead and the game 2-1.

El-Shami was noticeably upset and exasperated after the loss. “We worked hard, then we had that call in the box. Towards the end we had a breakdown and allowed (WCU) to get a nice shot,” El-Shami said.

It was a decent numbers game for GSU, as they compiled seven shots while Williams grabbed six saves.

Head coach Brian Dunleavy believed that his team fell apart late after the controversial penalty.

“Our mental approach needs to be for ninety minutes, (tonight) we only put together about eighty,” Dunleavy said.

The Eagles take a break from conference play this week as Francis Marion University (0-11) travels to Eagle Field. The game will be on Thursday at 7 p.m.