MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – The College of Charleston women’s soccer team fell, 1-0, to North Florida after they were unable to overcome a free-kick goal which they surrendered late in the first half at Patriots Point on Sunday afternoon.
The Cougars (1-1) dictated the match for the majority of the contest and created quality chances, ultimately ending the match with a 14-13 shot advantage, but lacked the final touch needed to find the net.
The Ospreys’ goal came off a bit of good fortune which they struck in the 37th minute. Lanie Keating stood over a free kick from beyond 50 yards away and played a low-lining ball into the crowd in the box. Cougar keeper Eli Sarasola (San Sebastian, Spain) rightfully expected the ball to take a deflection in the crowded penalty area but the ball implausibly slipped through the box untouched and found its way into the side netting.
Sarasola finished the match with four saves behind a well-organized and disciplined back line of defenders.
“I’m always with impressed with the players’ work rate,” said head coach Christian Michner. “They always work as hard as they can when they step on the field, and you can’t fault them for that. We were unlucky on a couple of occasions not to finish a on a goal and it is certainly unfortunate that the game was decided by a 55-yard free kick which we couldn’t defend. At this level you have to be able to defend that no matter what, but we’ll learn from it.
“We thought that with all the pace we have up top we’d be able to get behind them and create chances and largely we were able to do that –especially in the second half – but we just weren’t able to put the ball in the back of the net. It turns out that we lose 1-0 today, but the kids will learn from this and move on and be ready to face another team.”
UNF opened the match with an early attack which had the Cougars on their heels in the early going. It didn’t take long for CofC to be reinserted back into the match, however, and the Cougars transitioned into the pace dictators over the next 10 minutes.
Kate Twohig (Charleston, S.C.) was added to the starting lineup and was prominent in the early attack, ripping CofC’s first three shot attempts once the Cougars settled in.
The first half was mostly contained in the central third of the field with teams exchanging runs at one another until Keating eked in the free kick late in the period.
The Ospreys also started the second half on the offensive and created a flurry of chances for an insurance goal. Carolina Lencina made a quality run for UNF in the 50th minute but Sarasola cut off her angle at goal and made a standing save to keep the Cougars in the match. Moments later, Keara Murphy floated a shot towards the goal from the top-left corner of the box, but it caromed off the crossbar and away from danger.
McCallie Jones (Charlotte, N.C.) made a productive the run the other way in the 55th minute and beat several defenders with her dribble, but as she attempted to get herself in a position to shoot the ball ran off her boot and out of play.
CofC dictated most of the remaining minutes and spawned several chances, the best of which came when Francesca Kentimenos (Stony Point, N.Y.) took a free kick – from virtually the same spot as Keating’s first half net finder – and played a ball similar to Keating’s into the box. Jones beat her defender and got her boot to the ball around the six-yard line but her attempt crept over the bar as time ticked away on the Cougars.
CofC made one last push in the final minute and produced a corner kick inside of 30 seconds. Sarah Cardamone (Downingtown, Pa.) swung a dangerous ball into the box and it rattled around invitingly, but the fortuitous bounce evaded the Cougars and time expired.
Claire Newman (Greensboro, N.C.), Hope Walker (Charlotte, N.C.), Danielle Mellem (San Clemente, Calif.) and Cardamone all played the full 90 minutes on a hot August day, despite the Cougars having short rest after Friday’s double-overtime victory over Charleston Southern.
CofC will head to the Midwest for its first road trip of the season for matches at Illinois and Depaul. The Cougars take on No. 28 Illinois on Friday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. (EST) and Depaul on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. (EST).