ATLANTA – After a goal from sophomore forward Jewel Evans in the 19th minute, the Georgia State women’s soccer team (6-10-1, 3-4-1 CAA) could not find the game winner as the Panthers battled George Mason (6-5-5, 3-2-3 CAA) to a 1-1 draw Sunday afternoon in Panthersville. The tie represents the first for GSU this season and gives the team its first undefeated weekend in conference play.
The score for Evans was her third of the weekend after netting two in Friday’s 4-3 victory over Towson. Her lone goal in Sunday’s game elevated her season total to seven, tying junior forward Sarah Bennett as the team’s leading-scorer. Playing without three of their starters due to injury, the Panthers put together an impressive offensive effort, taking 11 shots with five on goal.
“We had some key players out with injuries this game so we had to readjust a bit and come up with a new system,” said head coach Domenic Martelli. “I give credit to the entire team for having an open mind to play a little differently from how we have in the past”
Evans opened scoring at the 18:25 minute mark when she intercepted a pass between George Mason defenders. She took the ball to the top of the 18-yard box and buried a shot in the right corner of the net to give the Panthers the 1-0 lead.
The Patriots found the equalizer in the final minute of the first half to tie the game at one apiece entering halftime. George Mason’s Jazmin Cordoso fielded a pass in the center 20 yards out and blasted a shot on goal that hit the cross bar. The ball bounced down near the goal line before Georgia State keeper Kellianne Collins could deflect it back into play. The linesman then waved his flag to signal the ball crossed the line and the official awarded George Mason the equalizing goal.
“I’m very happy with how each and every one of the players played today,” said Martelli. “Whether they started, came off the bench, played a little or played a lot, to be able to play the way we did to come away with a tie against a very talented team was a great effort from the entire team.”
Redshirt-sophomore Jordan Young got the best chance at the game-winning goal in the second half when she got a foot on a pass delivered from freshman Kierra Nelson on the left side. Unfortunately, Young’s shot missed wide right of the post to keep the match tied 1-1. The Panthers got off four more shots in the second half but none found the back of the net and the team entered its first overtime period at home this season.
In the 99th minute, GSU nearly ended the game with an excellent scoring opportunity put together by Evans and freshman Nikki Fedele. On the play, Evans beat a defender on the right side and dribbled in to the goal where she passed the ball off to Fedele waiting at the left post. Fedele took the shot but the ball went up and over the goal.
Despite strong pressure from the Patriots in the final second overtime, Georgia State’s defense held strong to keep George Mason scoreless and secure the 1-1 draw.
“The games will come,” commented Martelli. “The goals will come in our favor. We had a four-point weekend so we just have to see how the rest of the conference has done today and get back to work to prepare for next weekend. We have three games left. We take it one game at a time and up first is Hofstra. That is our focus right now to get ourselves healthy so we can put the best team on the field Friday night.”
Georgia State returns to the pitch next weekend with another set of home games. The Panthers take on Hofstra at 7 p.m. Friday before facing off against Northeastern Sunday at 11 a.m.