Pirates Slowed by Tough Challenges from Braves, Cougars

Tirae Stevens, Staff Writer

The Armstrong Pirates soccer team honored six seniors ahead of their final game of the regular season. They lost to North Georgia 1-0 — Sunday, Oct.3, 2016 (Armstrong Communications) 

The Armstrong State soccer team found itself running into two difficult groups of competitors in the UNC Pembroke Braves and the Columbus State University Cougars. The Pirates went 0-1-1 for the week, with their record becoming 12-2-2 overall and 8-1-2 in the Peach Belt Conference. Their 14-match unbeaten streak also came to a close this week.

On Monday, Oct. 24, the Pirates traveled to Pembroke, North Carolina, to face the UNC Pembroke Braves. Armstrong was the first to put a goal on the board during the 25th minute, as junior Amanda Green slipped a through ball to the right side of the box, where sophomore Asa Thorsen struck a shot that beat UNC Pembroke keeper Gina Ryan. The Braves retaliated in the 40th minute, taking advantage of a defensive miscue on the part of the Pirates.

A ball trickled into the box that Armstrong State goalkeeper Erica Laurens came off her line to try to field, but a Pirate defender attempted to clear the ball and the Braves’ Stacey Scott took advantage of the clearance to score inside the left post and tie the game.

Neither team managed to score before the end of regulation, so the match went into overtime. The Pirates had the best chance to score in the first overtime period, with junior Brooke Standard heading a corner kick that just ricocheted off the crossbar. Still tied at one goal apiece, the match went into double overtime.

Once again, Armstrong State had the best chance to take the match; a missed opportunity came in the 108th minute when junior Jenny Allen’s shot went well over the crossbar. The match would end in a 1-1 draw.

“I thought we played hard but we struggled to finish opportunities,” sophomore Parker Schroedel said of the results. “Their front line caused some problems for us, which led to them tying it up.”

Armstrong State then returned home on Thursday, Oct. 27, to face the Cougars of Columbus State University—the defending Peach Belt Conference champions and the number-five ranked team in the nation. Columbus State wasted no time in scoring the first goal of the game, when Mandy Janowitz used an assist from Hugrun Elvarsdottir to slot home a ball inside the far post within the first three minutes of play.

The Pirates’ best chance to score in the first half came from junior Ashley Green in the 23rd minute, as she got behind the Cougar defense but pushed a shot wide right from a very close angle. The Cougars enjoyed an 8-5 lead in shots going into halftime.

The Pirates seemed to tie things up in the 60th minute when a long throw from freshman Lauren Yoss went for Cougar goalkeeper Maylyn Parsons. Parsons jumped on the ball, but it got free and junior Amanda Green ran onto it, lifting it into the net. However, the official ruled that Green went for the ball while Parsons still had possession and the goal was waved off.

Columbus State scored a clear goal in the 65th minute when Mandy Janowitz sent a shot that deflected off Pirate keeper Erica Laurens. The third and final goal for the Cougars would come in the 89th minute when Cassandra Wade scored using another assist from Elvarsdottir. Columbus State would go on to take the match 3-0.

“Obviously, Columbus State is an elite team,” Armstrong head coach Eric Faulconer said after the match. “They are clinical with their chances and unfortunately that is an area we have struggled with all season. Our kids played extremely hard and I am proud of their effort.”

Armstrong State returned to action on Sunday, October 30, hosting the University of North Georgia Nighthawks for the annual senior day match. They fell in that game 1-0 and now await their fate in the PBC Tournament.