GREENSBORO, N.C. – Heida Ragney Vidarsdottir (Akureyri, Iceland/Carson-Newman) tallied a goal in the 18th minute of play, but a flurry of action in the second half paved the way for a 2-2 tie against the Western Carolina Catamounts Sunday afternoon at the UNCG Soccer Stadium. The Spartans are now 5-6-2 overall, and 2-1-1 in Southern Conference play. Western Carolina is now 4-7-2, and 1-2-1 in the SoCon.
After going up 1-0 on Vidarsdottir’s early goal, Western Carolina sandwiched a Spartan goal in the 50th and 52nd minute of play. UNCG took advantage of a WCU own goal off of a corner kick to help the Spartans earn the 2-2 draw.
Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper (Charlottesville, Va./Albemarle) played all 110 minutes in goal, earning five saves.
UNCG had a chance to take the lead early, but the Western Carolina goalkeeper was equal to the task. Hita dribble along the left side of the box and played a ball in to Melanie Spensiero (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic). Spensiero corralled the ball within the six-yard box, but her shot was smothered by the WCU keeper.
Western threatened in the 14th minute. After a ball was played about eight yards in front of the goal, Sayres McKenna attempted a bicycle kick over the Spartan defense, but Tyler-Cooper made the save to keep the score knotted at 0-0.
The Spartans took the lead in the 18th minute of play. Hoeksema played a ball in from the outer area of the attacking third where she found the head of Vidarsdottir. Vidarsdottir was able to flick the ball on, a high arching attempt that fell behind the Catamount keeper to give the Spartans an early advantage.
The second half started with a flurry of action. In the first five minutes, Western Carolina tallied a pair of goals, with UNCG taking advantage of an own goal and the match was tied at two in the 52nd minute.
Western Carolina’s first equalizer came off the foot of Megan McCallister. Deyana Walker dribbled up the right side of the box and got a through ball over to McCallister who finished to the left of the Spartan keeper to tie the match up at 1-1.
The second Spartan goal came on an Ashton Duty (Waxhaw, N.C./Cuthbertson) corner kick in the 51st minute. Duty played the ball in, looking for teammate Emily Jensen (Nelson, New Zealand/Santa Clara), but the Western Carolina centerback went to play the ball out and knocked it past her goal keeper to give UNCG the 2-1 advantage.
WCU’s second equalizer came just a minute later from Walker. Emily Zipay attacked UNCG’s right post and passed the ball over to Walker who finished past the Spartan keeper to tie it back up at 2-2.
UNCG had chances down the stretch as the Spartans outshot the Catamounts 4-1 in the last 10 minutes of regulation. The first overtime was played mostly in the Spartans attacking third of the pitch, but the Spartans managed just one shot in the first ten minutes. The Catamounts outshot the Spartans 3-1 in the second overtime, but the Spartans defense was able to keep the ball out of goal and earned the draw.
The Blue and Gold is back in action Friday night as it heads to Birmingham, Alabama to take on the Samford Bulldogs at 8 p.m.