MOBILE, Ala. (10/13/17) – The Arkansas State women’s soccer team knocked off the first-place South Alabama Jaguars with a 1-0 victory Friday evening at The Cage.
It was the first loss of the season for the Jaguars in conference play and vaulted the Red Wolves into the top-half of the league standings with just two matches to go on its regular season schedule.
The match was delayed for 2:15 due to a weather system that moved through the Mobile area and created a difficult surface to play on. Despite the challenge, the Red Wolves (8-5-1, 4-3-1) scored the only match of the goal in the 46th minute when Hailey Furio buried a shot low to the ground from close range.
The shot was setup by a quick shot off the second half restart from Sarah Sodoma who had her attempt knocked away by the Jaguars (7-5-1, 5-1), but the rebound found Furio, who gave A-State the only goal it would need.
“I think this team knew we had a since of urgency,” A-State head coach Brian Dooley said. “We gave away some points early in the season and it put us in a position to where we have to go and get points against some opponents where that has traditionally been a very tough thing. The conditions weren’t great, but the girls mentally made sure they stayed in the game and didn’t make the type of mistakes that will cost you.”
After the goal, South Alabama went to the attack on the offensive end and came close to tying the match in the 85th minute when Charde Hannah hit the crossbar on a shot from distance. It was one of 33 shots for the Jaguars on the night.
In goal Kelsey Ponder withstood the barrage of shots and made a season-high 13 saves. The total is also tied for the fourth most in school history. One of her biggest saves came immediately after the attempt by Hannah when Rio Hardy collected the rebound and sent in on Ponder. She also made a pair of saves in the 88th and 89th minutes as South Alabama searched for the equalizer.
“Ponder played a perfect game in goal,” Dooley Said. “You could not have asked for anything better in the type of conditions we were playing in. We knew that after we scored they would go on the attack and Ponder and that defense did an excellent job of withstanding that pressure and not giving up too much.”
Arkansas State had an opportunity to stretch its lead to two goals in the 64th minute when Maggie Ertl had an attempt stopped by Justice Stanford.
“We have a very young team but we play like we are old and that has only continued to evolve as the season has gone on,” Dooley said. “Not having (Taylor) Schneider was tough in the middle, and tonight was the type of game that was made for her, but Bailey Reed was a monster for us and probably played her best game of the season. We just made the plays when we had to and it wasn’t pretty by any stretch but it got the job done.”
The Red Wolves return to the field Sunday, Oct. 15 for a conference matchup at Louisiana-Monroe. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.