Georgia Southern Battles Back For 1-1 Draw With High Point
STATESBORO, Ga. – Georgia Southern Women’s Soccer continued its best start in over a decade with a 1-1 draw against High Point on Sunday afternoon at Eagle Field. The Panthers scored in the 21st minute, but freshman Nora El-Shami scored her second goal in the last two matches to level the teams in the final 15 minutes of the match.
“It’s always good to see intensity from team when they give up a goal early,” said head coach Lindsey Vanderspiegel. “It would have been easy for us to give up after allowing that goal, but we really took the game back to them in the second half.”
The Eagles are an unbeaten 2-0-1 on the season, good for the program’s best start since the 2000 season when GSU rattled off 11-straight wins to open the year.
High Point drew first blood in the 21st minute when Becca Hemby headed home her fourth goal of the season off a corner kick in the box. She tallied five total shots in the contest, all on frame, but it was her goal that gave the Panthers an early 1-0 lead.
That goal ended the Eagles string of 200 minutes without allowing a goal to start the year. Georgia Southern’s goalkeeper, Katie Merson, battled back, making 10 saves on the afternoon to keep the Eagles in the contest.
In the 75th minute, El-Shami worked her magic in scoring the equalizer. The freshman worked the ball into the corner with teammate Stephanie Gratto, but it was El-Shami that took the ball past three High Point defenders and earned some space on the near side of the 18-yard box. Dribbling towards goal, she delivered a arcing finesse shot that found the upper corner of the net past a diving Panther goalkeeper.
“Nora is a difference maker for us,” added Vanderspiegel. “She is an absolute x-factor out there on the field and she really helped us out today.”
With time running out in regular, Merson made a spectacular save in the final minute to ensure the match went to overtime. In the extra frames, Merson was called on early as High Point took the opening kickoff directly down the field, forcing the netminder to make two saves in the first 20 seconds of the period.
Ultimately the physical match finished in a 1-1 draw with 40 total fouls called, 25 against the Eagles and 15 on the Panthers’ ledger.
Georgia Southern is back on the road this weekend with a pair of games on Florida’s First Coast. GSU faces North Florida on Friday night at 6 p.m. before facing Jacksonville on Sunday at 1 p.m.
- Category: Women's Soccer
- Published on Sunday, 26 August 2012 17:36