Tirae Stevens, Staff Writer
With just seconds to go in the second half, an own goal allowed the Armstrong State soccer team to remain unbeaten in Peach Belt Conference play with a 1-0 victory over the University of Montevallo Falcons. With the win, the Pirates improved to 7-1-1 overall and 4-0-1 in the conference, and they also maintained their position as the number-one team in the conference. Montevallo fell to 2-5-1 overall and 1-3-1 in league play with the loss.
Sturdy defense on the part of the Pirates prevented the Falcons from accruing any shots during the first half. Despite the Lady Pirates having 17 shots of their own, they could not manage to score a goal before halftime. The closest attempt at a score for Armstrong came in the 38th minute, when junior forward Ashley Green fired a shot from the left side that was saved by Montevallo goalkeeper Ellie Mouyal.
“I thought that we played really well in the first half,” senior defender Allison Litchfield said about the Pirates’ first-half effort. “We had created several opportunities to put the ball away in the net, which gave us momentum and confidence moving into the second half.”
It was this momentum and confidence that allowed Armstrong State to continue outshooting Montevallo, with a 13-3 advantage in the second half of the match. Montevallo’s best chance at scoring for the day came in the 54th minute of play, when a long-range shot from forward Madison Ellis rebounded off the crossbar.
With less than 30 seconds to go in a match that appeared destined for overtime, a foul from the Falcons awarded the Pirates with a free kick. Junior defender Michelle Allen took the kick and while it was intended for fellow junior defender McKenzie Anderson, it instead ricocheted off of Montevallo’s Ellis and into the net for the own goal. The Pirates then went on to claim the 1-0 victory.
Armstrong State outshot Montevallo 30-3 on the day. Montevallo keeper Ellie Mouyal made seven saves throughout the match. Armstrong keeper Erica Laurens picked up just one save, but tallied her fifth shutout of the season.
“Credit to Montevallo, who carried out a very good game plan against us and made it very difficult to get good looks on goal,” Armstrong head coach Eric Faulconer said after the match. “There is a lack of composure in the box against organized teams and that will continue to be a point of emphasis for us in training.”
“Moving forward into the rest of the season, I still believe that our team is the best team in our conference,” Litchfield added. “We just have to go out and prove ourselves every time we get the opportunity to step on the field.”
Armstrong State hosted the Georgia College Bobcats this on Wednesday, Oct. 5 in their second annual “Kick for the Cure” breast cancer awareness game. They will next return to action on Saturday, October 8, when they go on the road to face the UNC Pembroke Braves.