Tirae Stevens, Staff Writer
After a week of mandatory evacuation and postponed matches due to Hurricane Matthew, the Armstrong State soccer finally returned to action—first defeating the Lander Bearcats with a score of 4-0, and then the Clayton State University Lakers with a score of 1-0. These two victories allowed the Pirates to improve to a 9-1-1 overall record and extend their winning streak to 10 matches.
The Pirates were originally supposed to host Georgia College on Wednesday, October 5, but the impending threat of the hurricane forced mandatory evacuation of the Armstrong campus and thus led to the match’s cancellation. As a result, the match against the UNC Pembroke Braves that was scheduled for Saturday, October 8, was also canceled. Armstrong was finally able to compete in Peach Belt Conference action again, travelling to Greenwood, South Carolina on Wednesday, October 12 to take on the Lander Bearcats.
Junior Pirate Jenny Allen highlighted the scoring efforts of Armstrong State early during the first half, scoring two goals before 20 minutes had elapsed. Her first goal came in the 16th minute when she took the ball from a Lander defender while in the box and sent it inside the left post. This goal allowed Allen to become the fourth player in Armstrong State soccer history to score 30 career goals. Allen struck again in the 20th minute, capitalizing on an assist from senior Sarah Olin and firing the shot just under the crossbar.
Allen seemed to pass the scoring torch to sophomore Martha Trimbach for the second half of action, as Trimbach added two goals of her own to the Pirates’ match total. During the 61st minute, freshman Lauren Yoss managed a sharp pass to Trimbach, who then launched it left and past Lander goalkeeper Hannah Cowan. The fourth and final goal for the Pirates came in the 79th minute, when Trimbach utilized her speed in a spectacular run down the right side and shot the ball past Cowan.
Armstrong finished the match outshooting Lander 19-9. Senior keeper Erica Laurens defended Armstrong’s net with three saves. While it seemed that Hurricane Matthew did not slow the Pirates’ playing momentum, it was clear that they still felt the effects. “It honestly felt like another preseason,” sophomore Casey Couch said about the weeklong break from soccer action. “It was a while without seeing each other and playing together every day, so we were extremely eager to play again.” The Pirates also had to cope with practicing for this match at another campus, Georgia Southern University. “A special thanks to Georgia Southern Athletics, Georgia Southern athletic director Tom Kleinlein, and Darin Van Tassell for all their help in accommodating us,” head coach Eric Faulconer remarked.
The Lady Pirates next went on the road to Morrow, Georgia, for a match against the Clayton State Lakers. The Pirates were the first on the board, again early on, as junior Amanda Green displayed her speed with a run up the middle to score during the fourth minute of play. Five saves from Armstrong keeper Laurens prevented Clayton State from scoring their own goals, but the Pirates carried a 9-8 lead into halftime. The Lakers almost scored during the 84th minute, but a sliding block from Laurens denied them the chance. Laurens finished the night with eight saves, tying her career high total. “We definitely had to grind that game out tonight,” Faulconer said. “We always have spirited games against Clayton State and this one was no different.”
Armstrong returned home on Monday, October 17, to play the rescheduled match against Georgia College. They then hosted the Saints of Flagler College on Wednesday, October 19. They will compete again on Saturday, October 22, hosting non-conference foe University of West Georgia for the annual Military Appreciation game.