JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (October 27, 2008 ) - Playing in its final Atlantic Sun Conference regular season match, the ETSU women's soccer team defeated league foe Florida Gulf Coast 2-1, in double overtime at Summers-Taylor Stadium, Sunday. With the win ETSU improves to 7-8-1 overall and 5-4-1 in league action, while FGCU falls to 6-8-2 and a 4-4 mark in the A-Sun.
"Jim (Blakenship, FGCU head coach) and his team do an excellent job battling and we knew heading into this match that they weren't going to give up," said head coach Heather Henson. "FGCU's front line does a great job attacking the centermid and trying to create a lot of chaos, but today we were able to battle through that and overcome it. When you get this late into the season it's all about battling the entire match and giving everything you have."
The Bucs opened the scoring as junior Kim Jones (Springfield, Va.) headed home the match's first goal, off an outstanding corner kick by teammate sophomore Terri Miller (Cape Coral, Fla.) in the 26th minute.
ETSU would hold on to that one goal lead until midway through the second half as the Eagles Amber McCall would take a breakaway pass from teammate Olivia Elias, tying the match 1-1. After ETSU missed two close range shots at the end of regulation, both teams would head to the first golden goal overtime period.
In the first extra fame neither team could get the offense going; however the Bucs would waste little time as the second overtime period began. Miller would take a pass from midfield and dribble down the left side of the Eagles defense, crossing the ball over one FGCU defender, where teammate Jordan Monty (Mesquite, Texas) fired home the game-winning goal in the 103rd minute of play. This marked Monty's second consecutive game-winning goal as the junior forward found the back of net in the Bucs, 1-0 win against Stetson, Friday.
"As a team we stepped-up today," said Henson. "Ashley Craig was one of the players that was able to come-in and give our team some quality minutes. She stepped in and made some hard tackles that sparked the team, while goalkeeper Megan Masch (Virginia Beach, Va.) made some key saves when we needed it down the stretch. As a team had some missed chances in the first overtime, but came up a little short. Again though when you get this late into the season it's about if your team can continue to push forward and overcome them things and finish strong and we did that today."
After the victory the Bucs boasted their chances of a higher seeding in the upcoming A-Sun tournament, November 5-8. Also with the win, this closed out the final home match for all four ETSU senior players. Each player, along with their families, were honored prior to the start of the match. Overall, forward Ashley Craig (Lakeland, Fla.), goalkeeper Erin Bilyeu (Murfreesboro), defender Meredith Goldman (Knoxville) and midfielder Rachel Layer (Bel Air, Md.) become the first ETSU senior class to make four consecutive A-Sun postseason tournaments.
"We talked prior to the Stetson game about how nice it would be for the four seniors if we could do that," said Henson. "What I'm proud of is how our girls played hard and fought for this win, despite being already in the tournament. Now since we did our job we can sit and wait to see how the rest of the teams fall into place."
ETSU will have one more contest before heading to the A-Sun tournament, as the Bucs travel to face region rival Liberty, Friday at 7:00 pm.