GREENSBORO, N.C. - Holding visiting East Carolina to just a single shot on goal this Sunday night, UNCG women's soccer came out on the right side of a 1-0 decision, with sophomore center back Kayla Campbell delivering the game-winning tally. The Spartans win over the Pirates gives the side three straight victories after starting the season 0-5-1, as they prepare for the beginning of conference play against the Citadel this Friday.
"We were lacking energy in the first half, so that was the halftime team talk, was to change that whole low-energy mentality," said Head Coach Michael Coll in post game. "So I was delighted with the energy we showed in the second half. As far as the goal goes, we did notice something on video when we scouted our opponent tonight that we could take advantage of, and that's exactly how we scored."
The Pirates were quick out of the gate in the opening stages of this weekend's contests, outshooting the hosting Spartans 5-1 in the opening 20 minutes. Neither side would get a good look at goal however, with the Pirates lone shot on frame coming on a lofted ball from nearly 30 yards out.
Coming out of the break tied at 0-0, UNCG's offense came alive with 13 attempts at net in the latter 45 minutes alone. The Spartans controlled play from the moment the second half whistle blew, with the field tilting heavily in favor of the home team.
With their first five shots of the second half coming up empty, the Spartans finally broke the scoreless tie during the 54th on a corner opportunity. After a shot from forward Cienna Rideout was parried over the endline by the ECU keeper, freshman Gabi Santora lined up for her team's first corner opportunity of the match. Coming off a two-goal performance against Elon, Santora delivered a ball to the back post, where Campbell's laces found contact to put the her team ahead 1-0. The defender's goal was her second of the current campaign, delivering her first of the year on another corner opportunity against Gardner-Webb the previous week.
Despite holding onto the lead, the Spartan offense continued to press, forcing the opposing keeper to make another three saves before the night was through. At the back end, the UNCG defense blocked three of the Pirates' four attempts at an equalizer, to help starting freshman goalkeeper Abby Buchholz collect her first clean sheet in a Spartans' uniform and clinch a third straight win for Coach Coll and company.
"We just need to be more decisive on things in the final third," commented Coll, in regards to his team's approaching SoCon schedule. "We are the conference representative in the NCAA tournament for the last two years, so we have a bull's eye on our back and every one of these conference teams is going to bring their best game against us. So we know we can break lines and get into the final third, we just have to be more decisive with our decision making."
Three Things To Know
-- With the helper on her team's lone tally of the night Santora now holds a team best seven points on the season
-- Rideout took a total of six shots against the Pirates with two reaching target
-- The Spartans are averaging 3.67 goals per match over their current winning streak, while surrendering just three total goals and a pair of shutouts
COMING UP NEXT
Conference play officially begins on Friday the 27th as the Spartans host visiting Citadel at 7 p.m. UNCG has never lost to the Bulldogs over 18 matchups all-time, with the Citadel getting outscored 87-9 since the pair's first meeting in 2001.
-- UNCG –