ATLANTA – Despite battling through a scoreless first half, the Georgia State women's soccer team (6-11-1, 3-5-1 CAA) conceded a pair of goals after halftime to result in the ultimate 2-0 loss to Hofstra (8-7, 4-5 CAA) Friday evening at Panthersville.
Junior forward Sarah Bennett had the most chances to land one in the back of the net, leading the team in shooting with four shots, two of which were on goal. Jordan Young, Alyssia Feronti and Jewel Evans each generated two shots while Eryka Hawkins and Carly Lafferty added one a piece to account for a team total of 12.
The first 45 minutes was an even battle with neither team generating a high amount of scoring chances. Georgia State’s best opportunities came early in the second half on two similar plays. In both occurrences, Evans sent in a well-placed cross from the right side. On Evans’ first attempt, there was an absence of Panthers in front of the goal to bury the shot. On the second attempt, Hawkins got a touch on the ball but could not gain control before it was cleared out by a Hofstra defender.
“There were two good teams battling for the same result, but in the first half, neither team had a good chance,” said head coach Domenic Martelli. “They had a free kick that created a close shot. We had a couple of close crosses that we just could not finish but that was about the extent of it. It was very evenly matched throughout the first half.”
Hofstra got its chance on goal in the 27th minute when it was awarded a free kick 20 yards out. The Pride’s Courtney Breen got a foot on the kick into the box but senior goalkeeper Kellianne Collins smothered the ball to deny Hofstra the score. At the end of the first half, both teams had generated only two shots on goal but none found the back of the net.
After the break, Georgia State came out dominating, keeping the action on Hofstra’s end of the field for the first 20 minutes of the second half. Just three minutes in, Bennett blasted a shot that hit the left post and bounced off the back of Hofstra’s goalkeeper. The ball rolled towards the goal line but the keeper scooped it up before it crossed the boundary.
“The first 20 minutes of the second half, we were all over it,” said Martelli. “It was one of our best games, defensively. Not just our backs, but every player on the field really stepped up the defensive play. Our A-game came out today but the results just weren’t in our favor.”
Soon after Bennett’s near goal, Evans powered a shot in that hit the cross bar and bounced straight down. On its bounce back up, the keeper got a hand on the ball to deflect it back into play and register another goal-saving stop for the Pride.
Hofstra got on the board in the 56th minute with a goal from Courtney Breen. The Pride tallied again 30 minutes later. On the play, Collins laid out to make a deflecting save and Hofstra’s Anya Koren was there to collect the rebound and send it into the back of the net.
“The last 10 minutes we played with four forwards and moved up some players to go after it and try to get the equalizer,” commented Martelli. “We had our numbers up. We were throwing the kitchen sink at them. We just got exposed at the end and gave up that second goal.”
With only two minutes left to play, Young connected with Evans as the two made a final attempt to score. Evans got a head on Young’s cross from the right but the keeper made the save to deny the Panthers a chance at a comeback and secure the 2-0 win for the Pride.
Georgia State will look for its fourth conference win Sunday against Northeastern. Despite the loss to Hofstra, the Panthers are still in the race to secure a spot in the top six and make a return trip to the CAA Tournament. Kick off against the Huskies is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Panthersville. Fans can follow the action via live stats at www.GeorgiaStateSports.com. A full recap and statistics will be available on the website following the completion of the match.