HIGH POINT, N.C. – In arguably its best offensive performance of the season, UNCG defeated Triad foe High Point Monday night, using an Emily Jensen (Nelson, New Zealand/Santa Clara) headed goal to upend the Panthers 1-0 at Vert Stadium.
The Spartans tallied a season-high 22 shots on the night, including seven on goal. The Blue and Gold also commanded the corner kick opportunities, racking up eight compared to just one for HPU. In goal, Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper (Charlottesville, Va./Albamarle) made five saves to register the first clean sheet of her career.
“We played good soccer tonight,” said head coach Michael Coll. “Our players all wanted the ball in offensive positions and they wanted to combine, we got plenty of numbers forward. We had players who were confident enough to take shots and to dribble inside the 18-yard box to get corner kicks and things. It wasn’t a huge surprise, we know that we’re capable of that. But it was very tough to do it against our cross-town rival tonight so well done for our attacking players. It was a very good performance.”
Despite dominating the vast majority of possession in the first half, the Spartans entered the break deadlocked 0-0 with the Panthers. UNCG registered a 10-5 advantage in shots in the half, earning all five corner kick opportunities.
The Spartans continued to control the pace of play in the second half, but despite a number of quality chances early on the Blue and Gold remained unable to take the lead. However, that changed in the 74th minute.
Gabbi Charles (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) whipped in an exquisite cross off of a corner and Jensen, having just come back out onto the pitch mere moments earlier, banged home the header for her second tally of the season.
“We had addressed our corner kick services at half time,” said Coll. “We had a few of them in the first half but we wanted to change the height and the pace of our delivery. We wanted to strike it sort of head height or even chin height from corners in the second half.
“And, wow, Gabbi did it perfectly. The ball was struck in very hard about chin height and that’s very difficult for a goalkeeper because it’s travelling so fast. The service was exactly like we asked and the header was sublime to hit it back with pace from where it came from. It was a fantastic header from Emily.”
From there the Spartans were able to drop back into more of a defensive formation and see out their second victory of the season.
UNCG returns to action on Friday with another Big South opponent, hosting Longwood at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.