September 2, 2010

Lady Saints Score Early, Topple Bobcats 5-2 in Opener

BANNER ELK, NC – The North Georgia women's soccer team opened the year in mid-season form on Thursday afternoon, scoring three first-half goals on their way to a 5-2 victory at Lees-McRae College in non-conference action.

North Georgia improves to 1-0 on the young season and extends their unbeaten mark in season openers to five, a mark that dates back to the 2006 season.

After 25 minutes of scoreless action, Caroline Wallace broke through in 28th minute with her first collegiate goal, gaining possession on the wing and sending a laser shot from 25-yards out that deflected off goalkeeper Brittany Bolton and found the back of the net for North Georgia's first goal of the year.

The Lady Saints would add to the lead moments later at the 31:41 mark as Emily Dover sent a perfect cross in the box that found the foot of Samantha Abrahart who promptly tapped in her first collegiate score to give North Georgia a 2-0 advantage.

Lees-McRae responded in the 38th minute, taking full advantage of their only corner kick in the half as Kaitlyn Kerrigan served the ball in the box and Katy McGee sent a header past North Georgia keeper Jessica English to cut the Lady Saints' lead in half at 2-1.

With time running out in the opening period, defender Melanie Thompson played a lead to Emily Bowen who finished with a shot inside the near post in the 42nd minute to extend the lead right back to two goals at 3-1 heading into intermission.

The Lady Saints continued to force the action in the second half as Emily Dover notched her first goal in a North Georgia uniform at the 62:21 mark. A lead pass was deflected by the keeper and sent directly to Dover who finished into an open net, giving the Lady Saints a 4-1 edge.

Both defenses went to sleep in the final minute as the Lady Saints took advantage in the 90th minute with a goal from PBC Freshman of the Year Kelsey Martin. The sophomore received a pass from Whitley Dover and finished inside the far post to send North Georgia up by four goals.

The Bobcats would fight to the final buzzer however, scoring a goal with just 20 seconds remaining on the clock as Jessica O'Leary found possession in the open field and scored from 25 yards out to cap the scoring and send North Georgia home with a 5-2 victory.

The five goals would be more than enough for English, as the senior stopper recorded five saves in goal and held the Bobcats to a goal in each half. The Lady Saints have now scored five goals in a game for the second consecutive year in which five different players picked up a goal.

North Georgia held a slim 17-15 advantage in shots, while the Lady Saints put 11 of their attempts on goal to just seven on target for the Bobcats. The Lady Saints had a 3-1 lead in corners, while the fouls tipped in North Georgia's direction by a 10-7 margin.

North Georgia will look to make it a 2-0 start to the season as the Lady Saints return to the newly renovated Soccer Complex for their home opener on Saturday afternoon against Belmont Abbey College. All the action can be found live at with kickoff set for 1:00 p.m. in Dahlonega.