Columbus – Kiana Nicholson netted her first career hat trick in the first half to lead Columbus State to a dominating 4-0 win Wednesday night versus Montevallo in a Peach Belt Conference tilt at the Walden Soccer Complex. CSU ups its mark to 13-3-2 on the year and 7-2-1 in the PBC while UM drops to 5-11-1 overall and 2-6-1 in conference action.
The scoring opened up early as Nicholson scored the first goal just 3:32 into the match. The freshman received a flick-on from Jackie Ellis into the far left portion of the penalty box and chipped the goalkeeper to the right post to put CSU ahead 1-0.
Roughly 22 minutes later the Marietta native was able to corral a ball in a nearly identical spot of the field and again hit a left-footed blast to the far right post giving Columbus State a 2-0 advantage. Nicholson put the finishing touches on the fine night six and a half minutes later when Jaci Carithers played a ball over the top on a free kick which Nicholson brought down before burying her third goal of the game.
This was the first hat trick of the season by any Lady Cougar and was the first time the feat was accomplished since Stephanie Parrish put in three goals versus Barry last year. CSU's lone senior, Stephanie Lowery, also had the trifecta in 2010 picking up the hat trick in a contest against Carson-Newman.
Columbus State was able to put the finishing touches on a very good night in the 84th minute when Christine Kelly played a long ball over the Montevallo defense to Jackie Ellis who chested the ball down setting up a 1-v-1 situation which the junior easily won scoring her fourth goal of the season.
Mary Mancin picked up a pair of saves on two dangerous shots by Montevallo in the second half as she earned her sixth shutout of the season improving her record to 13-3-2. Mancin ends the regular season with a 0.63 goals against average, which is currently the second best mark in the PBC.
Alyssa Maxwell (0-5-1) suffered the loss for Montevallo allowing all four goals despite making 10 saves in the match.
CSU outshot Montevallo 22-3 in the contest and held a 6-1 edge in corner kicks. Each team was whistled for 11 fouls.
The Lady Cougars will now wait and see how the rest of the PBC action plays out over the next six days before hosting a Peach Belt Conference Tournament First Round game next Tuesday, November 1 at the Walden Soccer Complex. A complete rundown of the tournament including times and opponents will be posted on www.csucougars.com when the field is set.