KENNESAW, Ga. – The Kennesaw State women’s soccer team dropped its 2011 Atlantic Sun Conference opener, 2-1, to Belmont on Friday night in front of 862 fans at KSU Soccer Stadium.
The loss drops the Owls to 4-4-1 (0-1 A-Sun) for the season, while the win improves Belmont to 4-4 (1-0 A-Sun) on the year. The game also marked the first time that the Black and Gold have ever lost an A-Sun Conference opener as they are now 4-1-2 all-time.
Belmont started the scoring in the 13th minute as it found the back of the net on a broken play off a corner kick. The Owls cleared the initial corner by the Bruins, but the clearance went right to Lauren Paynter who sent a ball towards goal and it was deflected in for the goal by Jamie Loftis.
For the second straight game KSU seemed to come out slow to start the game as Belmont controlled play for almost the entire first half taking a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
Head Coach Rob King made some adjustments at halftime and the team seemed to respond instantly to start the second half as Kennesaw State was much more aggressive on the offensive end.
The Owls were rewarded a corner kick in the 59th minute and they took advantage of the opportunity as sophomore Kelsey Barr scored her second goal of the season. Junior Lexi Hastings sent the corner kick in towards the penalty circle where Barr was waiting. The Douglasville, Ga. native elevated over the Bruins defense and knocked a solid header past Belmont goalkeeper Nicole Berner to tie the game at 1-1.
Just as it seemed like Kennesaw State was gaining some momentum after the goal Belmont took it right back just over a minute later. Gretchen Sutch banged in a loose ball from 18 yards out past KSU goalkeeper Melissa Hutto to push the Bruins lead back up to 2-1.
Kennesaw State’s best chance to tie the game came in the 87th minute as the Black and Gold were awarded a free kick just outside the box. Redshirt-freshman Katrina Frost hit a low, liner that just missed wide left to seal the Owls fate.
“I was very disappointed with our performance tonight,” coach King said. “We had a great week of practice but failed to show up for the actual game. We will meet tomorrow to go over some things and get ready for Sunday’s match against Lipscomb.”
Some positive news for KSU is that it got two key offensive players back in tonight’s game as senior Kristin Marietta and freshman Iyani Hughes both came back from injury to make positive contributions in the match.
Kennesaw State will wrap up its A-Sun opening weekend as it hosts Lipscomb on Sunday, September 25 at 1 p.m. at KSU Soccer Stadium.