By Chris Jones
September 2, 2015
The UNC Asheville women’s soccer team fell at home to Western Carolina University to the tune of three goals to zero to record their first loss of the season.
Chad Miller, head coach of the WCU women’s team, said his team played a great game on both sides and was happy with his team’s overall performance Thursday night.
“We started off the match with a quick score and got another one right three minutes before halftime,” Miller said. “That helped our confidence and let us head into halftime with a two-goal lead and plan accordingly to head out for the second half. We had a great all-around team effort tonight, and we hope this kind of play will continue and that we keep on improving each game.”
The first half of the match started off routinely as both teams tried to establish each of their game plans, until Catamount Redshirt senior Kimberly Sullivan knocked the ball into the right side of the net to score the first goal of the game at the 15-minute mark of the match. Sullivan’s goal came off of a corner kick by WCU freshman Sayres McKenna and a headed assist by WCU senior Kelly Pannell.
At the 30-minute mark of the match, Bulldog freshman goalkeeper Keller Dixon appeared to sustain an injury as she went down during the action. She was replaced by freshman goalkeeper Madeline Getz. Keller allowed one goal before she was replaced and saved three shots on goal. Getz played the rest of the match for the Bulldogs, grabbing five saves and allowing two goals.
Western Carolina Redshirt sophomore Kelsey Cooke scored a goal with one minute remaining in the first half. McKenna was in the action again in the second goal of the game for the Catamounts by earning another assist on the goal by Cooke. UNCA went into halftime trailing 2-0.
The rest of the second half went back and forth as UNCA tried desperately to cut into the Catamounts 2-0 lead, but to no avail. Western scored their third and final goal of the game from a corner kick assist by Redshirt senior Sara Robinson and headed in by Sullivan. This was Sullivan’s second goal of the game and a career high for the Redshirt from Portsmouth, Rhode Island. After the goal by Sullivan it was all WCU controlling the last 10 minutes, getting the last four shots of the game and keeping the Bulldogs at bay.
“This was a great game played tonight by both teams,” said Asst. Referee Jonathan Glover. “No head should be low, because they both played really hard and should be happy with their performances. It was a great game to officiate.”
UNCA had 10 shots and only three corner kicks in the game. Sophomore forward Caroline Houser had six of the Bulldog 10 shots and aimed three at the goal, but failed to score in all of them.
Western Carolina had 17 shots, eight corner kicks and seven saves in the match. Sullivan claimed four of those shots, of which two went in the back of the net for her goals of the night. Pannell had three shots and earned one goal in the match. WCU junior goalkeeper Carly Tinstman earned the shutout with her seven saves in the match.
“Our whole team played great on offense as we scored three goals, and our defense helped out a lot in keeping the ball away from the goal. They made my night fairly easy for me,” Tinstman said. “The offense took a lot of pressure off of me by giving me a cushion by scoring goals, and that helped me focus on the game and not worrying about a game tying or losing goal.”
UNCA women’s soccer returns home to Greenwood field in Asheville on Friday, September 4, at 7p.m., when they host Alabama A&M.