The team is no stranger to adversity this season and they ran into trouble a few minutes into the contest when senior keeper, Morgan Luckie, abandoned the box and took on a Bobcat attacker one-on-one. She prevented a shot, though the referee decided that her take-down was too malicious and warranted a red card ejection.
By rule, the Pirates were forced to play with only 10 players for the rest of the match. Despite this, the determination shown by the players made up for their missing member.
The first half was a battle of wills. Armstrong’s defense was unrelenting, allowing only five shots in the first half, however they only produced three shot opportunities for themselves.
The Pirates knew that lacking a player might prevent chances at scoring in the contest. They tried to make the most of every opportunity and shortly into second half, they did just that.
Sophomore, Randi Schroedel, fed a free kick into the box in the 15th minute where fellow sophomore Olivia DeJong gathered and beat the Bobcat keeper for her second goal of the year.
DeJong, the reigning PBC defender of the week, has been the Pirates safety net, plugging into different positions all over the field. She has come through in a big way each time.
“It was such a great team win,” DeJong said. “In the end, it didn’t even matter who scored. We all fought and worked so hard together and for each other that the win was the most rewarding thing. The fact that we had to play with 10 players for almost the entire game showed how much we’ve grown and come together as a team.”
The score remained 1-0 throughout the end of the match thanks to a pair of late saves from backup keeper, Erica Laurens. Laurens, a sophomore, has not given up a goal in over 114 minutes so far this year.
DeJong, Jenny Allen, and Sarah Olin all tallied three shots during the contest. Armstrong picked up four corner kicks and five fouls.
“I’m really proud of our team and how they responded to a really difficult situation… being a player down after only nine minutes,” head coach Eric Faulconer said, “Obviously, it was not an ideal situation, but our players never got rattled. We put in a tremendous amount of work to get the result and secure three valuable points in the PBC.”
The Pirates returned to action Wednesday, Oct. 21, taking on PBC opponent USC-Aiken. The Pirates will next host Georgia Southwestern Saturday, Oct. 24 at 3:30 p.m.