Pirate soccer takes two on the road

Jenny Allen
Jenny Allen

By Berry Aldridge, Sports Editor

After starting their season 1-1, the Armstrong Pirates hit the road last weekend for two matchups against teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season. The Pirates went into Friday’s matchup against the Belmont Abbey Crusaders motivated and ready to play and it was a pair of Pirate twins that got the job done.

Late in the first half and with no score, freshman Ashley Green was able to score her first goal of her career after fellow freshman Olivia Dejong took a shot from the right side of the goal. Belmont goalkeeper Hannah Kohls blocked the shot from DeJong, but could not recover in time to stop Green’s follow-up attempt, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead at the half.

The second half saw much of the same from both teams, a very defensive contest. Early on in the period, however, it was Green’s twin sister Amanda, not to be outdone by her sister, who notched her first career goal. Junior Taylor Valley bounced a pass from the corner and found Green who slipped the ball under diving Kohls, giving the Pirates a definitive 2-0 lead.

“In the first half, we came out kind of tentative, not really winning any 50/50 balls,” Valley said,  “We made some subs about half way through the first half and all of the players who came off the bench made a huge difference and gave us a 1-0 lead going into halftime. In the second, we raised the level of play and were working more collectively as a group. We were able to put another goal away and come off with the win.”

The Pirates took a 2-1 record into Sunday’s game against the Pfeiffer Falcons and they used their momentum to notch their highest goal total of the season. Five different Pirates found the back of the net in a game that was all Armstrong from the very beginning.

Pirate goal leader Jenny Allen was able to take control of the game early as she was able to break free inside the box and pushed a pass from Amanda Green past the Pfeiffer goalkeeper to give ASU a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute. The Pirates took that and a 6-1 shot advantage into halftime.

In the second half, it did not take long for the Pirates to blow open a big lead as Amanda Green was able to draw a penalty kick for the Pirates. Valley converted the kick and gave her team the 2-0 lead in the 56th minute. Sophomore Sarah Olin followed that up just eight minutes later with a long shot from outside the box, giving the Pirates a 3-0 advantage.

Two other Pirates were able to score their first goals of the season as Kennedi Herrman and Dejong both put goals on the board for their team. The Pirates walked away with a 5-2 win over the Falcons.

Jenny Allen said “I think (winning) keeps our confidence up and keeps hungry to get more wins.”

“Overall I was very pleased getting two road wins over regionally ranked opponents. We struggled to score goals last season and so far this year that has not been a problem,” head coach Eric Faulconer said, “We are getting goal production from a lot of different players, so that is really nice to see. I think each time out we are getting better and this team has the potential to be very good. Hopefully, we can continue our growth as we move into conference play.”

The win improved the Pirates to 3-1 and they will next host Peach Belt Conference opponent Columbus State on Saturday, September 20 at 1:00 pm. The 10th Anniversary Team will be honored at the game.