By Luke Weir. September 7, 2017. BOONE, NC — There may have been an early autumn chill in the air at Ted Mackeroll Soccer Complex Thursday night, but it didn’t cool off Appalachian State women’s soccer as they edged Davidson, 3-2, for the Mountaineers’ first win of the 2017 season.
COVER IMAGE: Ava Dawson’s shot arches over the head of the Davidson goalkeeper to knot the match at 1-1 in the first half. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.
The Mountaineers (1-4-2) needed almost all of regulation to ensure the win against the visiting Wildcats (1-5) in the next-to-last non-league match before entering Sun Belt Conference play.
A pair of Davidson goals, one in the first half and another midway through the second, were quickly equalized by sophomore Mountaineer midfielder Ava Dawson, who finished with a game-high two goals.
Dawson was one of seven App State players to play all 90 minutes.
“When we went down 1-0, I knew I had to score, so I took a chance,” Dawson said of her first goal, a high arching header that slipped under the crossbar and over the head of the Davidson goalkeeper. “I didn’t expect (that one) to go in because it was so far away, but it bounced in.”
Despite taking 14 shots to the Wildcats’ 4, it took a goal by Mountaineer redshirt senior Sharon Osterbind to earn the home team its first lead of the game with only 2:30 left in regulation. The defense held strong for the remainder of the match to secure the victory.
“The girls played hard,” Appalachian head coach Sarah Strickland told Blowing Rock News after the game. “We’ve been playing really good soccer and creating opportunities, but not quite finishing them.”
Fresh legs from Davidson’s nine substitutions did not deter the Mountaineer defense, despite injuries plaguing the back line, according to coach Strickland.
Now in her eighth year at the helm of the App State women’s soccer program, Strickland noted that her Mountaineers played aggressively and focused on winning the first and second ball to initiate offense.
Despite the pace of the game slowing in the final 15 minutes, Strickland offered that she was proud of the way her team finished out the match to earn its first win of the season.
“There were several (Davidson) girls who were super dangerous, and Sharon’s goal at the end was a great way to finish in the last 5 minutes.” Strickland said. “They were really good at defending in that last five minutes and didn’t give up any fouls, which is what we have been doing lately, so I’m proud that we held it together.”
Appalachian State women’s soccer embarks on a 3-game road trip starting with UNC Wilmington Saturday at 7 p.m. before starting Sun Belt play against South Alabama on Sept. 15 in Mobile, Alabama. They complete the road trip in Atlanta on Sept. 17 vs. Georgia State. The Mountaineers’ next home match is vs. Troy on Sunday, September 24, 1:00 pm.