Arkansas State women’s soccer beats South Alabama in Sun Belt opener
An offensive outburst in the first half followed by stout defense in the second half propelled the Arkansas State soccer team to an exciting 3-2 victory over South Alabama Friday afternoon at the A-State Soccer Park.
The Red Wolves (4-3-1, 1-0 SBC) netted three first-half goals, then relied on a stout back line to hold keep the Jaguars (4-3-0, 0-1) from tying the match in the second half to win their Sun Belt Conference opener. With its win versus the 2020 conference tournament champions, A-State captured its fourth straight win in a league opener.
Preseason SBC Defensive Player of the Year Megan McClure captured 7 saves for the Scarlet and Black as USA peppered 16 shots with nine on-target. Sarah Sodoma drew her 75th start and played in her 80th match of her illustrious career, breaking school records.
South Alabama took an early 1-0 lead in the fourth minute when Gracie Wilson found Imane Addi for the first goal of the match. That lead would be short-lived, however, as an own goal by the Jaguars served as the equalizer in the seventh minute.
A-State took the lead in the 18th minute on Aliyah Williamson’s strike – the freshman’s second goal of the year. The Red Wolves took a commanding 3-1 lead in the contest just before half when Olivia Smith found Emma Riley, who tapped in the score in the 40th minute. The score was Riley’s second goal of the season and Smith’s first assist.
The Jaguars increased the intensity on the attacking end in the second half, with Gabrielle Gayle netting an unassisted goal in the 75th minute to cut the deficit to 3-2, but McClure guided the A-State defense efficiently and held USA off the board for the rest of the contest.
The Red Wolves seek to move to 2-0 on the league table for the fourth year in a row, hosting Georgia Southern at 3 p.m. CT Thursday, Sept. 23, at the A-State Soccer Park. Admission to the match is free.
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