Eagles finish second in Auburn

Layne Saliba

Be dominant from the start. That’s what the Georgia Southern Women’s Soccer team (3-1-0) needed to do to get past Indiana (2-2-0). And that’s exactly what they did.

The Eagles got their first win against a Big Ten opponenton Friday with a final score of 2-1 over Indiana.

“We were organized defensively, and we did a very good job of pressuring Indiana,” Head Coach Brian Dunleavy said.

Unfortunately, the Eagles had trouble staying perfect. Auburn (3-1-0), a powerful Southeastern Conference team, came out on top beating Ga. Southern 3-0on Sunday.

Still, Dunleavy was proud of the way the team performed.

“We played very hard for the entire game. We went down early and we just kept playing,” he said.

Overall it was a good weekend for Ga. Southern at the Auburn Soccer Classic. The Eagles took second place at the tournament, while sophomore forward Melinda Lukas, the only player over the weekend to score more than one goal, earned the offensive MVP award. Coming out of the weekend, Ga. Southern sits at a 3-1 record on the season.

Georgia Southern vs. Indiana (2-1)

Last year’s 5-0 loss did not deter the Eagles from attacking the Hoosiers head on. With two goals coming from Lukas during the first half, the Eagles were able to pull off a much needed win in their first tournament of the season.

“Indiana was a solid opponent. I feel like we did a really good job on both sides of the ball and I feel like, for large portions of the game, we were really dominant,” Dunleavy said.

Lukas put one in the back of an empty net in the 5th minute, and then an assist from freshman midfielder and Sweden native Angelica Wallerstedt, helped Lukas sink a header into the upper corner of the net during the 21st minute bringing the score to 2-0.

Redshirt senior goalkeeper and last week’s Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week, Katie Merson, was almost perfect making 5 saves and only letting one by in the 49th minute.

“We were pretty good in all areas of the field, I thought. And I feel like we had a very well-deserved win. Especially against a very good team,” Dunleavy said. “Whenever you beat somebody in a Power-5 conference, you’re happy with that.”

When time ran out, Ga. Southern was ahead 2-1, and could boast in their first win against a Big Ten opponent.

Georgia Southern vs. Auburn (3-0)

Ga. Southern was unable to produce the way they wanted to during their second game of the Auburn Soccer Classic. They only had three shots compared to Auburn’s 22.

Auburn scored early in the 7th minute with a goal from junior forward/midfielder Sophie Simantel, then again in the 30th when redshirt senior forward/midfielder Tori Ball chipped one overhead in a one-on-one contest against Merson. A late goal came in the 76th minute when junior forward Logan Beal’s shot hit the crossbar and bounced across the goal line, scoring the last goal of the night bringing the score to 3-0.

Although Merson finished the game with six saves, the three that got past her proved too much for the Eagles to make up.

“For the second half, we did very good. We held our own against one of the best teams in the country. Auburn is solid. They’ve got really strong, physical athletes and they made life difficult for us. But we did a really good job of continuing to play and continuing to put forth a really good effort. And if we can do that in the Sun Belt against Sun Belt opponents, I think we’ll have a lot of success,” Dunleavy said.