JONESBORO, Ark. (9/1/17) – Kelsey Ponder stopped all 11 shots placed on goal by Oral Roberts and Arkansas State earned a 3-0 shutout victory over the Eagles Friday afternoon at the A-State Soccer Park.
“We had strong, solid defending being responsible doing the hard stuff,” A-State head coach Brian Dooley said. “That’s kind of been our makeup to this point. I think the first 25 minutes people saw what we are capable of doing. Shots, I don’t care about that stat, but there was one that I thought was a lapse on defense. Sometimes, we’re okay with people shooting because we have a good goalkeeper, whether that’s Kelsey (Ponder), Megan (McClure) or Alexis (Phillipe). They can handle those shots and do their job which allows us to defend and concentrate our defending in a more dangerous space. Today was a perfect example of that, as we got our goals and then fought the game.”
A-State (2-2-0) controlled much of the first half, building a 2-0 lead at the break. The Red Wolves grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute as Maggie Ertl scored her first career goal. A throw in was dribbled around near the top of the box before Abby Harris gathered for possession and found Ertl near the top of the box. Ertl converted as she tapped in the goal to the back left corner of the net.
Nearly three minutes later, A-State built the 2-0 lead. Sarah Sodoma stole possession at midfield and used her speed to set up a great look on goal. After getting out in front of the defenders, she had just the goalkeeper to beat and chose to go to the back right corner for her third goal this season.
Oral Roberts (1-3-0) pressured for the final 10 minutes of the first half, putting up seven shots, four of which were on goal. The Eagles played much of the second half as they did the first, pressuring the A-State defense with many attempts. Oral Roberts added seven shots on goal in the second half, but Ponder stopped each of them to finish with 11 stops.
In the 85th minute, Oral Roberts was whistled for a handball in the box and A-State was awarded a penalty kick. Dana O’Boye stepped to the penalty spot and buried the attempt for her third goal on the season.
“We said from the start as a staff, that this group of student-athletes have the right mentality. We lost two very difficult games, against very good teams, and this is a very good team as well. They have some close results in a few games that made us a little worried on a few matchups. We stepped up today and have a long term goal in mind. If we hit a loss along the way, it’s not going to break us. Saint Louis is going to be a top-25 team and we were 3-2 with them. Every time we step out there, I get happier and more excited about what we can do as a team.”
The Red Wolves make a short trip to Central Arkansas for a 7 p.m. contest Sunday. A-State returns home to play UT Martin next Friday at 4 p.m.