Columbus – The seventh-ranked Columbus State University women's soccer team used an 81st minute goal by freshman Taylor Marks to upend Valdosta State University 2-1 Friday afternoon in a non-conference match at the Walden Soccer Complex.
With time running out in a 1-1 contest, the Lady Cougars earned a corner kick with just 10 minutes left in the match. Marks dished off a short corner to Kelsey Pelletier who played the ball into the box. The ball was headed back out to Marks on the left side of the field. The freshman then proceeded to dribble a few feet into the box and fired a bender into the right portion of the net for the game-winner. It was Marks' fourth goal of the season.
"That was a big time shot by Taylor," stated 10th year head coach Jay Entlich. "We needed something to lift us to the victory and she did exactly that."
Columbus State (10-3-0) was in comeback mode from the start as the Blazers took an early 1-0 lead. In the eighth minute, Aline Friedrich lined up for a corner kick and played a perfect ball into the box for Deysla Reyes. Reyes headed the ball into the goal for the 1-0 VSU lead.
CSU's first shot didn't come until the 18th minute when Nicole Corcionefired a shot but Olivia Mills saved the attempt.
In the 20th minute, Pelletier pushed an attack into the box and earned a penalty kick after a VSU player touched the ball with her hand. The captain lined up for the penalty kick and successfully capped off the attempt to tie the match.
Coming out of the break, Columbus State was on the attack early. In the 50th minute, Chelsea Person ran up the right side of the field and into the box firing a dangerous shot that Mills saved but couldn't corral. Corcione slid for a shot but Mills was there again to keep the match tied.
It was Corcione again in the 60th minute just missing bending the ball into the left side of the net from the right portion of the net.
In an interesting turn of events in the 74th minute, Valdosta State (8-2-3) almost scored an own goal as a player played the ball back to Mills. Mills had to make a diving save but the play resulted in an indirect free kick just two yards from the net. Person stepped up for the kick and a Blazer player deflected it into safety.
Columbus State continued to press on until Marks found the goal to extended CSU's winning streak to seven matches.
"It was an important win for us but we have to keep improving especially on the defensive side of the ball, "commented Entlich. "Set plays are continuing to hurt us and sooner or later it will catch up to us."
Sophomore goalkeeper Meosha Hatcher made four saves to improve to 9-1-0 this season while Mills fell to 8-2-3.
Overall, the Lady Cougars held a 15-6 shot advantage including a 9-2 edge in the second half.
Columbus State will have all the eyes in the Peach Belt Conference on them Sunday as they face Clayton State. The two teams are the final two unbeaten teams in conference play. The match will begin at 1:00 p.m. in Morrow.