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Garcia's Hat Trick Lifts Bulldogs to Win

Published: September 24, 2013

Charleston, S.C. – Mariana Garcia added to her list of achievements on Friday when she recorded her first career hat trick in a 3-1 victory over Jacksonville State in non-conference women's soccer action at WLI Field.

The win was the first of the season for the Bulldogs (1-2) while the Gamecocks suffered their first defeat and dropped to 1-1-1. The Citadel completes its first weekend at home on Sunday with a 2 p.m. game against Canisius.

Garcia, who entered her senior season as The Citadel's all-time leader in most of the school's offensive categories, increased her career totals to 34 goals and 73 points. Her three tallies in Friday's win marked the first hat trick for a Bulldog since Nicole Levermann turned the trick against Davidson on Oct. 17, 2010.

After Jacksonville State took the lead on a goal by Mackenzie Bellows at the 16:08 mark, Garcia wasted little time in bringing the Bulldogs even. Just a minute and a half later, she took a pass from freshman Lea Raedle and beat Gamecock goalkeeper Taylor Hammond to produce the first goal of the season for The Citadel.

It only took another five minutes for the Bulldogs to take the lead. Levermann was pulled down in the box, creating a penalty kick opportunity which Garcia converted to put The Citadel in front to stay.

The Bogota, Colombia, native then sealed the victory at the 77:43 mark when she was assisted by Jillian Meyer for her third goal of the game.

"I am very happy for the girls," said Bulldog head coach Bob Winch. "It has been a demanding week coming off two tough road games and the start of school. I give a lot of credit to Jacksonville State. They stretched us to the end."

The Gamecocks held a 22-16 advantage in shots, but freshman goalkeeper Naomi Carter stopped 10 of those attempts to keep The Citadel in control. Hammond finished with five saves for Jacksonville State.

Garcia led the Bulldogs with eight shots including six on goal. Jackie Rush had six shots for the Gamecocks followed by Kelsey Bright with five.

Following Sunday's game against Canisius, The Citadel is off until Sunday, Sept. 8 when Charleston Southern visits WLI Field to conclude a three-game homestand for the Bulldogs.

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