Player scores twice as UNCG takes over sole possession of first in SoCon
MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – In a battle of Southern Conference leaders, Kristin Player scored a pair of goals as UNCG took over sole possession of first place with a 2-1 win over College of Charleston at Patriots Point on Sunday.
The squads entered the match with identical 4-1-0 records in league play, but UNCG now sits alone atop the league standings at 6-7-0 overall and 5-1-0 in the SoCon.
With the teams tied at 1 late, Player scored her second goal of the afternoon in the 88th minute to lift the Spartans to the dramatic road victory. Ashlee Wilhelmsen assisted on the play, flicking a pass on to Player for her seventh goal of the season.
UNCG led for most of the game, but the Cougars (8-6-0, 4-2-0 SoCon) seemed poised to send the game to overtime when senior Hannah Gmerek celebrated Senior Day by heading home a Sarah Cardemone corner kick in the 84th minute, briefly tying the game before Player's heroics.
Player got the Spartans on the board first in the 13th minute to stake UNCG to an early 1-0 lead. Jaimey Etten and Lauren Hein picked up assists on the play, with Etten sending a ball to Hein and Hein playing it ahead to Player, who beat CofC keeper Cricket Wise one-on-one.
"It was a fantastic team effort," UNCG coach Steve Nugent said. "You've got to give College of Charleston a lot of credit. They played hard for 90 minutes and scored a great equalizer late in the game. I'm so proud of how we responded. We immediately came down the field and had two great chances to score right after that and ultimately got the game-winner in the 88th minute."
UNCG keeper Kelsey Kearney picked up the win in the net, making one save and allowing one goal. Wise took the loss, allowing two goals and making three saves.
The win was UNCG's fourth straight and fifth in its last six games. The win was also the Spartans' seventh straight over College of Charleston. The last nine games in the series have all been decided by just one goal.
For Player, the game-winning goal was her fourth of the season and third in as many games. Her last two have come within the last seven minutes of each contest, as her decisive goal Friday against The Citadel was in the 84th minute.
"Player's work rate is very good," Nugent said. "Going all the way back to preseason, she came in as our fittest player. Mentally and physically, she's very into the idea of making her senior year the best year she's ever had. I can't say enough for what she brings to the table every day at practice and every time we play. She gives everything she has, every time we play."
UNCG opens a two-game homestand against Wofford on Friday at 7 p.m. at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.
UNCG 2, College of Charleston 1
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
UNCG....... 1 1 - 2
CofC......... 0 1 - 1
1. 12:32 UNCG Kristin Player (6) (Jaimey Etten;Lauren Hein)
2. 83:19 COFC Hannah Gmerek (2) (Sarah Cardemone)
3. 87:47 UNCG Kristin Player (7) (Ashlee Wilhelmsen)
Shots: UNCG 8, CofC 4; Saves: UNCG 1 (Kelsey Kearney 1), CofC 3 (Cricket Wise 3); Corner kicks: UNCG 4, CofC 2; Fouls: UNCG 11, CofC 8
- UNCG -