Women’s soccer heads to Mercer

Photo by: Ryan Woodham

Hayden Boudreaux

The Georgia Southern University women’s soccer team (1-4-1) will head to Mercer University (4-3-1) this Sunday to take on the Bears in what will be the first of a three-game journey away from home.

The Eagles seem to have found a rhythm on defense, but their offense is still trying to catch fire. Head coach Brian Dunleavy said that he was pleased with his team’s performance so far this season but also that they have a lot more to do to improve.

Mercer seems to have figured out its offensive strategy, scoring 22 goals over eight games. The team’s speed and quickness will serve as an excellent test for the Eagle defense, led by sophomore goalkeeper Heather Kirkover and sophomore defender Katey Lippitt.

Kirkover and Lippitt have played every minute for the Eagles and have allowed only three goals over the last three games. Kirkover has stopped 27 shots from crossing the posts this year and has booked one shutout so far.

The defensive standouts will be faced with juniors Washida Blackman, forward, and Tess Patton, defender, of Mercer, who share seven goals between them.

Dunleavy believes the key to the defensive strategy will be to keep Mercer’s forwards from isolating themselves in the open field. On offense, he expects to see a huge performance from sophomore midfielder Cori Dulmage, who scored a critical goal in a 2-1 victory over Stetson University earlier in the season.

Freshman forward Jennifer Wittick currently leads the team with two goals, followed by junior Sydnie Van Curen and Dulmage with one goal apiece.

The Eagles will shoot against sophomore goalkeeper Maggie Cropp who has recorded 31 saves over the Bear’s eight games.

Specifically, the Eagles need to look at being more on-target since they have only scored on four out of 57 shots. If they can raise that shooting percentage and keep up their defensive hot streak, then the underdog Eagles can pull off a victory over the Bears.

Dunleavy is excited by his team’s desire to win and overall attitude.

“We have a lot of youth, but they are all hard workers. No one out here is hanging their heads, they come to practice ready to get better every day,” Dunleavy said.

The Eagles matchup with the Bears begins at 6 p.m. on Sunday.