CHARLOTTE, N.C. – After giving up an early goal, UNCG turned it on late to give itself late chances Monday night at Charlotte but the Spartans were unable to find an equalizer, falling to the 49ers 1-0 at Transamerica Field.
Freshman Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper (Charlottesville, Va./Albamarle) made the start in goal for the Spartans, taking the loss after allowing the loan goal of the game but also making three first-half saves. Chloe Buehler (Perrysburg, Ohio/Penn State) played the entirety of the second half, stopping the only shot on goal she faced.
“Aiyanah did well,” said head coach Michael Coll. “I mean, they scored against her but it was a very good finish by Thomas, she’s a proven goal scorer. When she gets a chance she’s generally going to finish and it was a sublime finish by her. I don’t really fault Aiyanah for that. Her overall performance was very good. She had a couple of snap, not as dangerous shots that she had to save and she did that. She also did well on all of the corners that she faced, gathering a couple of high catches as well. She was a real strong part of our back line tonight.”
The 49ers snatched the lead early on a lovely link up play from Virginia Lingo and Martha Thomas in the 8th minute. Lingo collected the ball at her feet and lofted a perfectly weighted chip over the Spartan back line, giving Thomas more than enough space to pick out an open area in the UNCG goal.
For the rest of the half UNCG had to ward off an offensive barrage from the 49ers. Charlotte unloaded 14 shots but Tyler-Cooper was up to the challenge each time, making four saves.
UNCG came out with much better offensive shape in the second half, making the game more of a back-and-forth affair. In fact, for the bulk of the final 25 minutes or so, the Spartans spent most of their time in the offensive third.
In fact, the Spartans owned a 7-5 shots advantage in the second half, earning three corners along the way. Unfortunately for UNCG, the Blue and Gold were unable to crack the code of the 49er defense.
“We didn’t even talk about tactics at halftime, we talked about attitude,” continued Coll. “We didn’t really have enough of a winning attitude in the first half. We talked about fight and the fact that we were beaten to too many 50/50 balls in the first half. That’s what we needed to change and thankfully we did. Sadly in soccer the team that scores first will often win. It’s just the nature of the game.”