Asheville, N.C. - Georgia State women's soccer rallied with three unanswered goals in the second half to create a 3-2 victory over UNC-Asheville Friday afternoon in Asheville, N.C. The win elevated GSU to a record of 2-6 on the season while Asheville dropped to 0-7.
Sophomore forward Jewel Evans landed the game-winning goal at the 88:18 minute mark to account for her second score this season. Junior forward Sarah Bennett tacked on her third goal of the season while freshman newcomer Eryka Hawkins notched the first of her career. The Panthers had a strong foot throughout the game, outshooting the Bulldogs 16-14. GSU was also crafty in forcing Asheville to kick it over the end line, creating 15 total corner kicks in the 90 minutes of play.
The Panthers nearly got on the board in the 12th minute starting when an Asheville defender cleared out a cross from Evans on the right. Senior midfielder Erinique Owens was there to intercept the clear and blasted a shot on goal forcing the Bulldog goalkeeper to make a diving one handed save.
In the 32nd minute, freshman forward Whitney Ravan created another chance on goal for the Panthers. Ravan dribbled down the left side battling with a Bulldog defender for sole possession of the ball. When gaining full control outside the goal, Ravan took her shot but sent the ball just wide into the left outside netting.
Soon after Ravan's attempt, UNC Asheville netted its first score at the 33:48 minute mark. The Bulldogs were awarded a free kick just outside the left corner of the 18-yard box. Amanda Napp's ensuing header found its way into the back of the net to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
Asheville tallied again three minutes later with a powerful shot 30 yards out from Leilani Halkiotis into the bottom right corner of the net.
"We played a great first half and created a lot of chances, but in soccer things don't always go your way," said head coach Domenic Martelli. "Asheville only had a couple of shots on goal and finished them both."
With less than six minutes remaining in the first half, Ravan finished off a deflected save by the opposing keeper into the back of the Bulldogs' net. Unfortunately, the goal was declared no good due to an offsides call against the Panthers.
In a final first-half scoring attempt, Ravan cradled a ball sent in from Hawkins on the right side to send an outlet pass to freshman Nikki Fedele. Fedele corralled the ball and sent a powerful shot in towards the goal but the UNC Asheville keeper came up with the save to preserve the 2-0 lead going into halftime.
Not long after the break, Evans lofted a cross from the right side to redshirt-sophomore Jordan Young waiting in the center. Young jumped up to finish off the cross with a header but the ball was snatched out of the air by the Asheville keeper.
Georgia State began its come from behind rally in the 58th minute when Young, on the left, switched the field with a long pass to Evans on the right. Evans ran with the ball down the right sideline and crossed into Bennett who finished it into the back of the net to put the Panthers on the board.
"We came out in the second half with some great intensity," commented Martelli. "We created great opportunities and were able to get our first goal in pretty quickly."
The Panthers tallied again with the equalizer in the 73rd minute. Sophomore Lyndsey Gaffney sent a ball in from the right side to Bennett waiting in front of the net. Bennett missed her chance at the shot but Hawkins, open on the left side, drilled the ball into the right corner of the net to even the game at two goals apiece.
The game-winning drive down the field started in the center when senior Kelley Hoyt played a ball out to Bennett who dribbled with it down the left side and crossed to Evans waiting in the middle. Evans slotted the shot home to clinch the Panthers 3-2 victory.
"The second goal was created by some great effort and then we got the third goal to end it," said Martelli. "We look forward to getting back on the field Sunday to get another positive result."
The Georgia State women's soccer team returns home to Atlanta to face off against Gardner Webb Sunday at 3 p.m. in Panthersville. Fans can follow the action via live stats at www.GeorgiaStateSports.com. A full recap and statistics will be available on the website at the completion of the game.