ATLANTA – Goals from a pair of sophomore forwards, Jewel Evans and Alison Gonzalez, gave the Georgia State Women’s Soccer team its first win of the season as the Panthers edged in-state rival Georgia Southern (1-3-1), 2-1, Friday afternoon at Panthersville.
Evans’ score was her first of the season while Gonzalez’s goal increased her season total to two. Sophomore Alyssia Feronti provided the assist to Gonzalez to account for her second contribution this season. Redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Rebecca Ingram recorded five saves on the day, including one to deny Georgia Southern a penalty kick score in the second half.
“It’s feels great to get a win,” said head coach Domenic Martelli. “Overall, we played better and were much more organized on the field, playing as a unit. We made a few changes in our system throughout the game that gave us a bit of a lift and also gave us the consistency that we needed to solidify the win.”
Georgia State was eager to get on the board, tallying the first score less than five minutes after the initial kickoff. At the 4:51 mark, Evans got a foot on the ball as it was being kicked around in front of the goal. Her shot made it past the Georgia Southern goalkeeper into the left corner of the net to give the Panthers an early 1-0 lead.
The Panthers got another opportunity for a score that began with a ball sent from Pitre at midfield to Evans down the right side. Evans fed a pass into the center where sophomore forward Sarah Bennett was waiting in front of the goal. Unfortunately, Bennett could not get a strong enough foot on the cross and the Eagle’s keeper smothered the ball to leave the Panthers’ lead at one.
With less than two minutes remaining in the half, Georgia Southern found the equalizer. Alex Murphy powered a shot from just outside the 18-yard box that Ingram was unable to stop to even the score at one a piece entering halftime.
“I thought we played extremely well for about 25 minutes in the first half,” commented Martelli. “Then we made a couple of changes that made us a little haphazard at times.”
Just over eight minutes after the break, Georgia State conceded a penalty, giving the Eagles an opportunity to take the lead. Southern’s Carlee Storey lined up to take the kick but Ingram laid out to make the save and keep the game tied 1-1.
“Rebecca has been tremendous since she came in for injured Kellianne (Collins),” said Martelli. “She has given us consistency and done well. The best thing about that save was that now I think she feels that everything she’s doing is a direct help to the team.”
The Panthers pulled back ahead at the 61:18 mark with a goal from Gonzalez. On the play, Feronti lofted a ball in from the corner that Gonzalez tapped in past the Eagle’s goalkeeper to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
“In the second half, we did plenty to get the go ahead goal and keep pressure on them,” said Martelli. “We had better game management. We limited their play on our half of the field, therefore limiting their results.”
Despite scoring opportunities from both sides, neither team was able to create another goal in the remaining minutes of the game and the Panthers triumphed with the 2-1 victory.
Georgia State continues with Rivalry Weekend Sunday as it travels to Athens, Ga. to take on Georgia at 2 p.m. Fans can follow the game via live stats at www.GeorgiaStateSports.com. Check the website after the match for full statistics and a game recap.