App State's PK in 89th minute sinks UNCG, 2-1 10-22-2011

For video of UNCG coach Steve Nugent's postgame comments, click here.

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Appalachian State's Sam McVeigh converted a penalty kick in the 89th minute as the Mountaineers stunned UNCG on Sunday, 2-1 at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.

With the game tied at 1 and overtime seemingly on the horizon, UNCG defender Stephanie Partenheimer played the ball back to keeper Kelsey Kearney in front of the Spartan net. ASU's Meggie Graham never gave up on the play, stealing the ball from Kearney just feet from the goal, and Kearney grabbed Graham as she went by and took her down, resulting in a red card for the Spartan keeper and a penalty kick for Appalachian State (6-10-2, 2-6-2 Southern Conference).

McVeigh stepped up and took the PK, getting it past Kearney's replacement, Alex Perry, for her second goal of the day.

"Very uncharacteristic mistake from Kelsey to even be in that situation," UNCG coach Steve Nugent said. "I feel for her. Unfortunately, I've been there before. It's a not an easy place to be right now. Our team will get with her and will pick her back up. She's a leader on this team and one of the reasons that UNCG soccer is where it is right now. I feel for her."

UNCG (8-8-1, 7-2-1 SoCon) had dominated the game to that point, but had just a single goal to show for it. That goal came in the early going, as the Spartans pounced on the Mountaineers with a Kristin Player strike just 2:11 into the contest.

Freshman Ashley Stokes got the play going on the left wing, sending a cross into the box for Player. The redshirt senior collected the ball and banged it home from about 6 yards out for her team-best eighth goal of the season.

The Apps got off just one shot in the first half, but they made it count. After an ASU corner kick, Callie Johnson ended up with a loose ball at the top of the 18-yard box. Her pass attempt was deflected to McVeigh, whose shot from the top of the 18 found the back of the net in the 17th minute to pull the Mountaineers level.

UNCG had several solid scoring chances go begging shortly after halftime. In the 52nd minute, Karin Sendel found Stokes with a pass on the left wing. Stokes then lofted a cross into the box that Lauren Hein nodded on, but her shot hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced back into play. Casey Godwin's follow attempt went wide.

Just minutes later, Player sent a corner kick into the box that Sendel scalded on frame, but ASU keeper Amy Kolowsky was just able to reach back and punch the shot over the bar to keep the game tied. The Spartans were unable to get off a shot attempt on the ensuing corner.

Kolowsky finished with four saves as UNCG outshot ASU 11-5 on the afternoon. Kearney had just one save, but it was a big one, coming on Katy Dodd's point-blank shot in the 73rd minute. Sonia Sanchez's follow shot was blocked in traffic.

Perry was saddled with the tough-luck loss after allowing the PK goal in just 1:39 of work.

"This league is a tough league," Nugent said. "You let teams hang around, and they'll hurt you. Appalachian Sate did make the best of their first chance, their only chance in the first half, and they put it away. I've got to give them a lot of credit. They came here with an army of players and a great cheering section, and their team and their fans were really into it. They willed them to a good victory for App State today. For us, we don't make any excuses. We're not looking for moral victories. We're not looking for anything other than what we get out of the game. And today, we deserved what we got by putting ourselves into a situation where it was 1-1 in the 80th minute, and it shouldn't have been."

The loss snaps UNCG's seven-match unbeaten streak, as the Spartans had been 6-0-1 since a 1-0 setback to league-leading Samford on Sept. 26. For Appalachian State, the win was its first over UNCG since 2002, breaking a 10-match losing streak in the series. It was also the Apps' first-ever win over UNCG in Greensboro.

UNCG wraps up the regular season Wednesday when it hosts Elon at 7 p.m. The contest will serve as Senior Day for Kearney, Player, Godwin, Perry, Jaimey Etten and Nicole Danford.

Appalachian State 2, UNCG 1

Goals by period       1  2  Tot
 Appalachian State...  1  1 -  2
 UNCG................  1  0 -  1

  1.   2:11 UNCG Kristin Player (8) (Ashley Stokes)
  2.  16:16 ASU Sam McVeigh (1) (Callie Johnson)
  3.  88:21 ASU Sam McVeigh Penalty kick

Shots: Appalachian State 5, UNCG 11; Saves: Appalachian State 4 (Amy Kolowsky 4), UNCG 1 (Kelsey Kearney 1); Corner kicks: Appalachian State 3, UNCG 6; Fouls: Appalachian State 9, UNCG 10.

- UNCG -

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