SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Oct. 7, 2008) - Sophomore midfielder Kelly Brinkman (Clearwater, Fla.) scored a pair of goals in less than three minutes midway through the first half, lifting the ETSU women's soccer team to a 2-1 win over Atlantic Sun Conference foe USC Upstate Tuesday evening at County University Soccer Stadium.
With the win, ETSU improves to 5-6 overall, 3-2 in A-Sun play, while USC Upstate falls to 3-9, 1-4. More importantly, the victory allows the Buccaneers to jump five spots in the league standings to second place as they prepare to return to league action this Saturday when they host Campbell at 2 p.m. inside Summers-Taylor Stadium.
Against the Spartans, Brinkman and the Buccaneers wasted little time taking the early advantage. ETSU's first goal came in the 15th minute, when an assist from junior Jordan Monty (Mesquite, Texas) found Brinkman, whose shot snuck past Upstate goalie Brittany Daughtry and into the back right corner of the net. Three minutes later, Brinkman struck again with a bending corner kick that found the net and made it 2-0 just halfway through the first 45 minutes.
"Kelly did a good job for us tonight," said ETSU head coach Heather Henson. "She really created a lot of movement for us in our attacking third of the field and she knew the runs she needed to make to give Jordan a chance to get her the ball. On the corner kick, she just knew the target she needed to hit and she hit it.
"We've been waiting for this and we've expected this type of game from Kelly. This was a breakthrough night for her because she was able to finish and put the ball in the back of the net."
The Bucs held a significant advantage statistically, outshooting the Spartans 16-7, having a 7-3 edge on corner kicks, and forcing USC Upstate to commit a total of 13 fouls in the game.
Defensively, ETSU goalie Megan Masch (Virginia Beach, Va.) had three saves on the night and the Bucs did not allow a score for 89 minutes of game play. However, in the final minute of the match, the Spartans' Kay Knepp did manage to slip a shot past Masch on a cross from teammate Brandi Manley, giving the Spartans their only score of the night.
"Kelly played well tonight, but the team really was phenomenal," Henson said. "Our team defense, our back line and our goal keeper all did a great job of not allowing USC Upstate a chance to come inside and get quality shots. They had some shots but they were all outside 25 yards. We played everyone except for three players tonight, and everyone that went in made a difference for us. The overall team performance was simply great. It was good to see."
For more on ETSU women's soccer, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women's soccer link.