By Caleb Bailey, Staff Writer
The Armstrong Pirates soccer team entered into last week’s matchup against Peach Belt opponent Clayton State with a 6-3 overall record and a 2-2 conference mark when they traveled to North Georgia on Oct. 8.
The Pirates looked to turn things around following a loss on the previous Saturday, but it was a late rally by the Lakers that gave the Pirates their second straight shutout loss. This is the first time the team has been shutout back-to-back since the beginning of the 2013 season.
The Pirates and Lakers played a tough defensive matchup and were scoreless going into halftime. Clayton State’s Lois Edvardsson broke the tie when she beat Morgan Luckie high on the goal in the 62nd minute.
The Pirates got their offense fired up over the next few possessions, posting three shots on goal in less than ten minutes, but they could not finish and score. The Lakers found their way into the goal again when Lucy Cunningham put the match away in the 82nd minute with her 11th goal of the season.
Oct. 11, the Pirates traveled to Young Harris College for another PBC matchup, this time against the Mountain Lions. The Pirates were hoping for a much different result and they got it with a 3-0 shutout victory.
Offensively, the Pirates dominated the first half. They took the first eight shots of the contest and scored during the 25th minute when McKenzie Anderson scored her first collegiate goal after netting a free kick outside the box.
Taylor Russell scored her first goal of the season after heading a corner kick from Sarah Olin during the 38th minute. The Pirates held a 2-0 lead at the half, with a dominant 16-1 shot advantage.
The second half was relatively the same for the Pirates as they took 16 more shots in the period, while the Mountain Lions were only able to muster 6. Olin put the game away in the 82nd minute when she scored her third goal of the season after she broke free with the ball and pushed a shot past the Young Harris goalkeeper.
“I thought we played really hard against Clayton State, but we could not finish the opportunities that we had and they could,” midfielder Randi Schroedel said. “Saturday I thought we passed the ball and kept possession a lot better and all around gave a better team effort. We will continue to take one game at a time as the season progresses with the intent to by 13-4 at the end of the season.”
The Pirates are now 7-4 with a 3-3 PBC record. Head coach Eric Faulconer talked about the week’s games and what they need to do to keep winning: “(Saturday) we earned a much-needed win after falling short on Wednesday against nationally ranked Clayton State. I feel if we can just get some momentum headed into the last few weeks of the season we could still achieve a lot of the goals we set at the beginning of the year. The win over Young Harris is a step in that direction.”
Senior Brianne Matarazzo said, “I believe Saturday and Wednesday we played with passion. Going forward we are going to take it one game at a time as I feel we have to get through this tough conference and we will!”
The Pirates hosted Newberry Oct. 15 and will host Georgia College on Oct. 18 for Senior Day.