Women’s soccer come up short to Mercer

File photo by: Ryan Woodham

Hayden Boudreaux

It was a painful loss for the Georgia Southern University women’s soccer team (1-5-1), which took on Mercer University (5-4-1) on Sunday.

Playing without their starting goalkeeper, as senior Heather Kirkover was sidelined after suffering an injury in practice this week, the Eagles fell 3-2.

The game could not have started better for the Eagles. At the 17 minute mark, freshman forward Jennifer Wittick stole the ball away in Mercer territory and lofted a shot over the keeper and into the net for the first goal of the contest.

The Eagles were not done yet. Senior forward Alex Murphy headed the ball over to sophomore forward Abria Allen who launched it past the Mercer goalkeeper making it 2-0 GSU.

Defensively, the Eagles had to overcome the loss of Kirkover. Head coach Brian Dunleavy turned to senior midfielder Alanna Rudd to take over in goal.

The defense stood tall, with sophomore defenders Katie Lippit and Jessie Eberhardt helping Rudd keep the ball away from the goal.

After 33 minutes, Mercer found a seam in the defense and took a shot that was blocked by Rudd, but on the rebound Mercer punched it in, making it a 2-1 game.  Only three minutes later, Mercer was able to fit in a second shot past Rudd to tie the game.

The Eagles came out in the second half looking to keep Mercer at bay.  However, they were unable to keep possession after the kickoff and Mercer scored a minute into the half.  It would be the last goal of the contest, giving Mercer a 3-2 victory.

The question for the Eagles going into the game was whether or not the offense would be able to put up points against a statistically superior Mercer lineup, and that question was answered in the first half.

The Eagles were solid on defense, with Lippet and Eberhardt keeping Mercer down to 14 shots on goal. Rudd, typically a field player, showed her versatility and commitment to the team by stepping up to the challenge.

After the loss, GSU has found itself with only one win and five losses. Dunleavy is unhappy with the record, but he does not doubt his team’s talent.

“I know we have one win, but I also know that we are the best one win team in the country,” Dunleavy said.

The Eagles will be hitting the practice field this week looking to build on last weekend’s offensive performance. They head into conference play this Friday against Samford University at 7 p.m. in Birmingham, Ala.