Behind a gritty effort that included a goal each from senior veteran Jill Kelly and Scottish native Eilidh Mchattie, the women’s soccer program at Shawnee State University was able to pick up its third victory over its last four affairs with a big 2-1 victory over Point Park in a contest that was held at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Tuesday evening.
Despite facing a massive 14-5 disadvantage in the foul count, the Bears overcame the foul discrepancy by getting another strong effort from Hannah Bolender and the Shawnee State backline. Bolender, who made her third consecutive start inside the goal, saved five shots on the evening and didn’t allow a goal as the efforts of Kelly, Ellie Aston, and Olivia Ball, among others, proved to be paramount in the final result.
The Bears, who slightly edged the Pioneers in shots (13-12) and equaled Point Park in shots on goal (six apiece) struck first on Kelly’s kick in the 22nd minute as the senior used a crafty finish to give SSU an early lead in the tightly contested bout. Neither team could come up with a salvo to change the pendulum further as the Bears rode its defensive work and grittiness to a 1-0 halftime advantage.
In the second half of play, however, a foul in the penalty box changed things.
Following a violation by the Bears in the box, Point Park was able to get its leading goal-scorer — Tia Horew — into the mix. True to form, Horew slid a shot past Bolender in the 56th minute to knot the score just 11 minutes into the second frame of play.
But 16 minutes later, SSU took the momentum back — for good.
On a strong run in transition, Mchattie found herself with open field to display the strong leg that has been showcased by the freshman when the Aberdeenshire, Scotland native has taken to the pitch in 2019. That strong leg, plus the aforementioned open field that greeted the first-year Bear, spelled doom for the Pioneers as evidenced in the 72nd minute, when the 5-4 forward took the ball top shelf for what would end up being the game-winning goal.
While the game proved to be far from a decided affair at that point, the consistency of Shawnee State’s defense — who has only given up six goals over its last five games after giving up six in its season-opening loss to Grace — held true to form over the final 18 minutes of action as Point Park wasn’t able to get off a consistent, clean look at the goal in the 2-1 SSU victory.
With the victory, Shawnee State not only won its third game out of its last four affairs, but moved to 3-1 on the year when holding opponents to a goal or less on the season. In addition to Kelly’s and Mchattie’s goals, the Bears were led by Alli Blank’s three shots, including one on frame, and two shots apiece by Ramiah Wallace and Sierra Drake, which included a shot on goal by Wallace. Abby Yazdani and Ellie Aston put their lone shots on frame in the contest while Ball and Destiny Chester also recorded a shot in the contest.
The victory moved the Bears to .500 at 3-3 overall and upped SSU’s mark against Point Park to a 4-1-2 overall record all-time.
Shawnee State will continue its road trip by taking on Brescia (Ky.) on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m. Central in Owensboro, Ky.
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