AIKEN, SC –
The North Georgia women’s soccer team was 17 minutes away
from their first loss of the season Saturday afternoon, but the
Lady Saints came roaring back to score a pair of late goals and
defeat USC Aiken 2-1 in Peach Belt Conference action.
North Georgia stays undefeated on the season, improving to 3-0-1 overall and 1-0 in the Peach Belt Conference, while USC Aiken drops to 1-3-0 overall and 0-1 in the league. The three wins and one tie through four games marks the second best start in the last nine years for the Lady Saints, as a 4-0 record in 2007 is only year the team posted a better record though four games.
With North Georgia trailing and time running down under 18 minutes, the Lady Saints were desperate need for a goal and used the senior experience of Katie Turner to knot the game at a goal apiece. Turner took a cross from freshman Kelly Penston and guided the ball into an open net to put the match all-square at the 72:22 mark of the second half.
Penston continued her clutch performance less than 12 minutes later, gathering a loose ball at the top of the box and blasting a shot just inside the left post to send the North Georgia bench into eruption. The unassisted score for Penston in the 85th minute was her second goal of the season, as the freshman sensation also recorded her second assist of the year in the contest.
USC Aiken’s Jenny Pineiro gave the Pacers the early lead in the 14th minute off a pass from Diana Eaton, the freshman’s first goal of the season. USCA would hold the lead for almost 59 minutes before Turner and the Lady Saints tied the game and came away with the late victory at the Pacer Pit.
North Georgia held a slight 14-9 advantage in shots in the match. The Pacers held a 6-5 advantage in shots in the first half, but the Saints rebounded to take six more (9-3) shots than the Pacers in the second stanza. Although nothing materialized from them, North Georgia took nine corner kicks in the match. USC Aiken was awarded just one corner kick in the match.
North Georgia goalkeeper Jessica English picked up her third win of the season in goal, allowing just one goal and making five saves in all 90 minutes of action. Nicole Westphal suffered the loss for the Pacers in goal, allowing both goals while stopping three shots.
North Georgia will look to continue to stay undefeated next Tuesday evening as they Lady Saints travel to Belmont Abbey for a non-conference match-up with the Crusaders. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. in Belmont, North Carolina, as North Georgia looks to get off to their best start in the last nine years with a victory.