By Caleb Bailey, Staff Writer
The Armstrong Pirates hosted the Columbus State Cougars on Sept. 20 in the team’s first Peach Belt Conference game of the season. The Cougars needed double overtime to slip past the Pirates in what was a great matchup with a mix of offense and defense.
Prior to the game, Armstrong presented the 10th Anniversary Team, honoring fourteen past and present Pirates who excelled in the first ten years of Armstrong soccer including current Pirates Morgan Luckie and Taylor Russell.
Both the Pirates and Cougars are normally known for being two tough defensive teams, but the first twenty minutes proved to be different. In the fourth minute, Jenny Allen was able to push a pass from Amanda Green past the Cougar goalkeeper for her fourth goal of the season in just five games.
Just ten minutes later, Allen slipped a pass to fellow freshman Randi Schroedel who squeaked a shot into the net for the first goal of her career to make the score 2-0 in favor of the Pirates. The Cougars responded quickly, however, when Cassandra Wade slipped a shot past Luckie to make the score 2-1 just a minute late.
The Cougars tied the game up in the nineteenth minute after Chelsea Person kicked a shot from the opposite sideline into the net. The score was tied going into halftime and the Pirates held an 8-6 shot advantage.
The Pirates started the second half on fire, taking four shots within the first five minutes of the half, but the teams went back and forth for most of the second half. The regulation buzzer sounded and the two teams headed to sudden death overtime.
The Cougars almost ended the game in the first overtime, but Luckie made a great save, knocking the ball away from the top of the net. The Cougars did finish off the Pirates in the second overtime when Person headed her second goal of the day and sealed the victory for her team.
“It was a great start. It couldn’t really get much better than that,” head coach Eric Faulconer said. “We got off a little bit and made some mistakes. A great team like Columbus States will capitalize on that and, unfortunately, we wore down as the game went on. Credit to Columbus on knowing how to win games. We have to learn how to do that.”
The loss snapped the Pirates three game win streak and dropped them to 3-2 with an 0-1 conference record.: “We have to work on mistakes,” senior Brianne Matarazzo said. “We have to grow as a team and just get better.”
“Every game is the same to me. No matter who you play, it’s the same mentality. Now we just have to take the loss and get better in practice,” added Schroedel.
The Pirates hosted Florida Tech on Sept. 17 and will host conference opponent Montevallo on Sept. 27. at 1pm.