ATLANTA – The Georgia State women’s soccer team capped off its winning weekend with a 4-2 victory over Gardner Webb Sunday afternoon in Panthersville. Redshirt-sophomore Jordan Young supplied all three assists, contributing to the Panther’s second straight come-from-behind win. The triumph propels GSU to 3-6 on the season while Gardner Webb drops to 2-3-3.
Sophomore forward Jewel Evans netted the first score of the game, her third on the season. Freshman forwards Eryka Hawkins and Whitney Ravan also both landed goals, representing the second of their careers, while junior forward Sarah Bennett notched her fourth of the season to take the title as the Panther’s leading scorer.
Georgia State continually created scoring opportunities throughout the 90 minutes of play, outshooting Gardner Webb 24-7 and forcing the opposing goalkeeper to make seven saves.
“Looking at how we played today, I think the thing that sticks out the most is the amount of chances we created on goal,” said head coach Domenic Martelli. “Not only did we have a bunch of scoring opportunities, but we generated them with great play. That aspect of the game, not the end score, is what made me the happiest.”
GSU came out strong, landing the first blow of the contest at the 6:15 mark. Young fed a ball in from the left side of the pitch to Evans at the center who drove the ball past the keeper into the right corner of the net, giving the Panthers an early 1-0 lead.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs nearly got on the board in the 22nd minute with a shot towards the Panther goal from the right sideline. Senior goalkeeper Kellianne Collins came out to punch the ball away but did not get it fully cleared, leaving an open goal for Gardner Webb. Senior midfielder Erinique Owens ran in to send the ball out of harm’s way over the end line and preserve the lead for the Panthers.
Although Owens saved the first attempt at a Gardner Webb score, the Runnin’ Bulldogs found the equalizer just one minute later with a penalty kick from Dawn Rollyson to even the score at one apiece.
The Panthers generated several more scoring opportunities in the remaining minutes but none were able to penetrate the opposing defense and the first half came to an end with the score tied 1-1.
Five minutes after the halftime break, Gardner Webb landed their second goal to take over the lead, 2-1.
“We still have that black cloud over us for a couple of minutes each half and that is exactly what happened when we gave up the goals,” said Martelli. “Those five minutes in the first half and five minutes in the second half is when Gardner Webb was able to score. Other than that, we really dominated defensively and didn’t give them much more opportunity on goal.”
Georgia State responded at the 55:55 minute mark when Young delivered a short pass from just right of the goal to Hawkins waiting in the center. Hawkins slotted the shot home to even the score once again.
One minute later, the Panthers furthered extended their lead with a bizarre goal from Bennett. On the play, a Gardner Webb defender played the ball back to the goalkeeper. As the keeper was settling the ball to prepare to send it back over the midline, Bennett ran in to put pressure on and deflected the keeper’s attempt at a clear. The ball rebounded back towards the Runnin’ Bulldogs goal and rolled into the left corner of the net to advance the score to 3-1 in Georgia State’s favor.
GSU landed its final goal in the 64th minute, beginning with an entry pass from Young to Ravan in the center of the 18-yard box. Ravan beat a defender to create some space and powered the ball past the goalkeeper to secure the Panther’s 4-2 victory.
The Georgia State women’s soccer team will begin conference play next weekend with games on the road against two Colonial Athletic Association opponents. The Panthers first take on Drexel Friday at 7 p.m. before turning their attention to Delaware Sunday at 1 p.m.