HICKORY, N.C. --- The Georgia College & State University women's soccer team edged Lees-McRae College by a 1-0 margin on Sunday afternoon, scoring the lone goal of the match with less than 20 minutes to play in the second half en route to the narrow victory at the Lenoir-Rhyne Classic.
Lees-McRae (0-1-1) controlled the run of play for much of the match, outshooting Georgia College (1-1) by a 24-12 margin, including a 12-4 advantage in the second half. Georgia College held a narrow 6-4 advantage in corner kicks in the match, while Lees-McRae forced 12 saves by the Georgia College keeper.
Erin Griffin tallied the goal for Georgia College, connecting on her only shot of the match off an assist from Kessler Matheson. Brittaney Borror, Ashley Veilleux, and Rebekah Autry each posted two shots, while Taylor Cornelius and Annie Stephens combined to keep a clean sheet with 11 saves (four for Cornelius, seven for Stephens).
Meagan Thornton (Millville, N.J.) paced Lees-McRae with six attempts at goal, including four on frame, while MaryBeth Sullivan (Greensboro, N.C.) took four shots at the Georgia College net. Kaitlyn Briggs (Oviedo, Fla.) played the full 90 minutes between the pipes for Lees-McRae, making seven saves.
Lees-McRae came out firing in the first half, making five attempts on goal in the first 11 minutes as Briggs made a trio of key saves in the opening 25 minutes to preserve the deadlock. Freshman Molly Ames (Greensboro, N.C.) nearly gave Lees-McRae the early advantage on two separate occasions within a four-minute span, forcing Cornelius into a pair of solid saves in the 29th and 33rd minutes.
The Bobcats continued to press the attack in the opening minutes of the second half, forcing four saves by Stephens in the first 18 minutes and nearly scoring the breakthrough when Sullivan wrung a glorious effort off the bar in the 61st minute.
Georgia College weathered the storm, countering against the run of play and seizing a 1-0 advantage at the death of the 74th minute, when Matheson made a run down the flank and found Griffin with a cross in front of goal for the finish. Lees-McRae nearly leveled proceedings just off the restart, as Thornton forced a spectacular save by Stephens on her second attempt in 15 seconds after her initial effort was blocked midway through the 76th minute.
"I'm disappointed with the result, but the girls' effort was impressive against another tough Peach Belt Conference team in Georgia College & State," said Lees-McRae head coach Nick Whiting. "We will rebound from this, and look forward to our home opener [on Wednesday]."
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Wednesday when the Bobcats make their 2012 home debut against Mars Hill College at 7 p.m. on Tate Field.
- LMC -