CLINTON, S.C. – Despite outshooting their hosts and getting a goal from Meredith Baldasare, the VMI Keydets fell 4-1 to the Presbyterian College Blue Hose in Big South women’s soccer action Saturday in Clinton, S.C.
Presbyterian (1-10, 1-3 Big South) jumped ahead early, scoring two goals in the first five minutes of play, and adding a third in the 27th minute of action. Tori Lopez had two of those goals for the Blue Hose, and the hosts would add another score in the 52nd minute. VMI (1-9, 0-4 Big South) tried to rally, outshooting PC 16-15 overall and 14-6 in the second half, but Baldasare’s goal with 1:05 left was not enough to overcome the deficit.
The game marked the second time this year VMI had outshot an opponent, as that also occurred in the August 24 match with Elon. The 16 shots was also a season high for the Keydets, while Baldasare’s goal was the first of her career. It marked the second straight match in which a Keydet player scored her first career goal, following Courtney Mason’s two score game Thursday against UNC Asheville.
The Blue Hose jumped ahead early Saturday, on a day marked by wet conditions and occasional rain. Just 2:17 into the contest, Lopez found Sara Simpson in the box and Simpson put a low shot past VMI goalkeeper Mackenzie Harrmann, staking PC to a 1-0 lead. That margin grew to 2-0 just 2:23 later, when Keri O’Neill passed the ball into the box. Lopez controlled it, spun and put the resulting shot by Harrmann to double PC’s lead.
That cushion increased in the 27th minute, when Harrmann stopped a Kelly Kozera shot but the ball came free to Lopez in close. She put it into the net, making it a 3-0 Presbyterian advantage.
The Blue Hose posted the game’s first nine shots, and the Keydets brought Kirsten Hancock into the game in goal in the 32nd minute. PC’s shot streak ended when Mason tested PC keeper Sydney Fontenot in the 34th minute. Fontenot stopped the shot, and VMI’s final attempt of the first half was blocked, sending the match to halftime with PC up, 3-0.
The Keydets had the first two shot tries in the second half, with neither on goal, but then committed a foul in the box, leading to a 51st minute penalty kick. Hancock turned the PK aside with an impressive save, but Alice Blackwell, who had taken the kick, pounced on the rebound and scored to make it a 4-0 contest.
PC kept the pressure up, forcing saves by Hancock in the 53rd and 58th minutes, before VMI turned the tide in the 71st minute. That saw Allie Segura force a save by Fontenot, as did Mason some four minutes later. Fontenot also stopped Sarah Putney at 78:51, and off a corner just seconds later, turned Mason aside yet again to preserve her team’s 4-0 cushion.
In the closing moments, Baldasare took over the Keydet offense with shots in the 84th and 86th minute, before finally getting a through pass from Sarah Putney in the 89th minute. That pass put the freshman into a 1 vs. 1 situation, and she took advantage by beating Fontenot to the keeper’s right, accounting for the final margin of 4-1.
The final stats showed the Keydets with a 16-15 edge in shots, including 14-6 in the second half. Hancock was credited with three of VMI’s four saves, while Fontenot stopped five shots for PC.
VMI women’s soccer will return to action Thursday, Oct. 4, as the Keydets play host to Charleston Southern. Game time is set for 4 p.m.