The Belmont Abbey Women's soccer team defeated the Lees-McRae Bobcats 1-0 this afternoon on Alumni Field. The win puts the Abbey at 10-2-1 with a 7-1 conference record. Lees-McRae dips to 4-10 and 4-4 against Conference Carolinas opposition. The Crusaders clinched a Conference Carolinas tournament berth with the victory.
Belmont Abbey's offense got off to hot start with four shots and a corner kick in the game's first ten minutes. The defense was just as impressive, limiting the Bobcats to one just shot for the first 27 minutes of play. The Crusaders made another push at the end of the half, with two shots in the 41st minute and retaining possession most of the period's completion. The score remained tied at 0 at halftime.
The second half began much like the first with Crusader shots and corner kicks abundant, with a stingy defense limiting the Bobcats' time of possession. In the 73rd minute, midfielder Morgan Altieri drew a penalty. Forward Cierra Skyers took the kick and placed the ball just beyond the reach of an outstretched goalie to give the Abbey a 1-0 lead. The stubborn Abbey defense did not give up a lees-McRae shot for the rest of the match, and the Crusaders took the game 1-0.
On the day, Belmont Abbey totaled 22 shots, and only surrendered 3. The Crusaders took four corner kicks to the Bobcats 0. Freshman goalkeeper Kaitlyn Paul only needed to make two saves.
When asked about his thoughts on the match, Head Coach Mike Lynch offered the following: "I congratulated the players after the game on a good win reminding them that offense is good defense; that it took everything Lees-McRae had to keep our many, many shots from scoring. We felt if we kept the pressure on, eventually one either goes in or leads to a PK, free kick, corner, etc. so we just needed to keep attacking. Late in the game, senior captain Jada Mauney took the initiative inside the penalty area and was fouled to stop her progress. Our other senior Captain Cierra Skyers stepped to convert the PK into our gamewinner. Our attacking certainly kept the ball mostly in their half, but our defending work by everyone, too, also stepped up on numerous occasions to get the shutout coming up with several big stops. Now, we turn our focus and attention on Mount Olive next Wednesday."
The Crusaders will next welcome Mt. Olive on Wednesday at 3 p.m.