Mahar's late winner lifts Bobcats to 1-0 win over Crusaders
BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Sophomore Sarah Mahar (Jacksonville, Fla.) scored her second goal of the season in the early moments of the 90th minute to lead the Lees-McRae College women's soccer team to a 1-0 win over North Greenville University in Conference Carolinas play on Saturday afternoon.
Lees-McRae (2-6, 1-1 CC) controlled the run of play for much of the match, dominating possession and outshooting North Greenville (4-4, 1-1 CC) by a 28-5 margin, including a 15-2 advantage in the second half. Kaitlyn Briggs (Oviedo, Fla.) made five saves to keep her second clean sheet of the season and 14th of her career, putting her one shy of a three-way tie for fifth on the program's all-time list.
Mahar paced the Bobcats with her 11th career strike, connecting on the third of her three shots on frame, as Meagan Thornton (Millville, N.J.) set up the winner with her 10th career assist. Thornton led the way for the Bobcats with 10 shots, as MaryBeth Sullivan (Greensboro, N.C.) and Mallory Overholt (Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada) each launched three shots toward goal.
Lindsay Tuten and Franki Jumper each posted two shots for North Greenville, all on frame, as Kathryn Allen added an attempt of her own. Kathryn Tate put together a strong performance between the pipes for the Crusaders, stopping nine of the 10 shots that came her way.
The Bobcats nearly got off to a flying start in the eighth minute, when Sullivan's glorious effort was parried just wide by Tate. Overholt was denied the opening goal on two separate occasions early in the first half, once when her initial strike was called back for offside in the 11th minute and again in the 25th after Tate cut off the angle well following a brilliant run in behind.
Lees-McRae continued to push forward over the remainder of the first half, sending six shots toward goal in the final 15 minutes of the period, including a splendid chance by Thornton in the 43rd which was cut out well by the Crusader defense.
Kerrigan came within inches of opening her season account midway through the 55th minute, crushing a shot from range that would have found the top corner if not for a spectacular save from Tate. The Bobcats kept up the pressure over the next several minutes, as Thornton sent an effort just wide of the woodwork in the 69th before Mahar's bid was cleared off the line in the 75th following a corner from Kerrigan.
The Bobcats' hard work would be rewarded early in the 90th minute, when Thornton streaked down the right flank and played the ball in to Mahar, who settled and curled a left-footed finish inside the far post to give Lees-McRae the decisive one-goal advantage.
Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Thursday, October 3 when the Bobcats travel to Misenheimer, N.C. to take on Pfeiffer University in conference play at 2 p.m.
- LMC -