Women’s soccer grabs Senior Day win

Sophomore midfielder Gabby Watson (17) races Elon University senior forward Chelsey Stark (27) for possession of the ball. The Eagles will battle Furman University in a pivotal Southern Conference matchup.Photo by: Ryan Woodham

Hayden Boudreaux

The Georgia Southern University women’s soccer team (5-8-2, Southern Conference 3-3-1) battled with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (8-6-2, SoCon 3-2-2) for Senior Day and took the win 1-0.

The first half was a defensive battle for both sides. Sophomore defender Renee Nance held the Eagle defense steady, and kept the Spartan offense off-balance and continued to feed its passes on offense. Each team battled for possession and struggled to get off a shot. UNCG managed to get one shot on goal by the end of the first half while the Eagles couldn’t manage to get a shot off.

Sophomore forward Nora El-Shami started off the second half with a bang, taking a crushing shot in the 47th minute, which was blocked by a UNCG defender. Then the game went back to its battle for possession and the physicality amped up on both sides. Several minor fouls occurred until the Eagles received an indirect free kick outside the UNCG box. An excellent shot was deflected by the goalie allowing a corner kick.

El-Shami stepped up to take the corner and as the ball was kicked it bent back into the goal for the first and only score of the contest. However, the game was far from over for the Eagles and both teams continued to take risks physically. In the 82nd minute UNCG received its first yellow card, and a minute later Nance was given a yellow of her own despite the protest from the crowd.

Nance pointed out how the strategy for the Eagles changed as they headed late into a game with a one-point lead.

“We try to preserve the win, but we also try to get our backs in position to score again,” Nance said.

With time winding down the Eagle offensive production increased. In the last twelve minutes of play GSU took more shots on goal than in the previous 78 minutes. By the end of the game El-Shami led the team with five shots on goal, followed by senior midfielder Lindsay Hammer with two and senior forward Alex Murphy managed to get off a shot as well.

The host of senior midfielders Emily Archer, Mckenna Storey and Alanna Rudd played huge roles in keeping the ball moving and assisting the offensive attack. Additionally senior goalkeeper Katie Merson and senior defender Sydney Keer have been important in keeping the women’s soccer program at GSU successful.

Head Coach Brian Dunleavy appreciated the win and how his team played up to the level of its competition.

“It was a great result for us, it was hard fought and I am really proud of the effort we put forth,” Dunleavy said.

The win was the third conference win of the year for the Eagles. They control their own destiny moving forward and into the conference standings. GSU will travel to Greensville, S.C. to take on conference rival Furman University. The game will be on Friday at 7 p.m.