09/14/05 — Women's soccer -- MOC comes away empty

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Women's soccer -- MOC comes away empty

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on September 14, 2005 2:04 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive's women's soccer team fired shot after shot toward the North Carolina Wesleyan goal and keeper Bryanne Godfrey. Twenty-five shots to be exact.

Usually, this is a formula for a lop-sided Trojan victory, but Tuesday afternoon proved the exact opposite.

Mount Olive, the defending NCAA Division II Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference tournament champion, was kept off the scoreboard for the first time in 19 matches and suffered a 1-0 loss at Trojan Field to the Division III Bishops of the USA South Conference.

The defeat was Mount Olive's first at home in 11 games and its first loss to a Division III school since November 2003 against Chowan College. The Trojans, who missed injured starters Heidi Philip and Emily Escolas, dropped to 4-3 overall. N.C. Wesleyan improved to 2-1.

"This is one of those days where you get the feeling things aren't going to go right, and they continue to not go right," said coach Chris Shaw, now 27-21 overall in three years at Mount Olive. "As the clock ticks down, you put more pressure on yourself and it makes things more difficult. We continue to let teams stay in games, and this game very well could have been 3-0 or 4-0 in the first half.

"We're obviously not good enough to just show up and win."

The Bishops, who managed just four shots during the game, struck for the lone goal with eight minutes left in the first half. Mayra Gomez found Reva McLoud near the top of the 18-yard box with a pass through the Mount Olive defense. McLoud settled the ball onto her right foot, then shot past Trojan goalie Heater Ulep to make it 1-0.

Surprisingly ... the score held.

"We knew we would have a touch match coming in. They had more opportunities, but we had a nice goal I thought," N.C. Wesleyan coach Tory Lukasina said. "We didn't get many shots, but we took advantage of the chance we got.

"Our goalie came up big, and this is a huge win for us."

Just before halftime, the Trojans had a golden chance to equalize the match on a penalty kick, but the shot sailed wide and right of the goal. On a gusty afternoon, Mount Olive's missed opportunities started early and continued to the final whistle. With Godfrey visibly limping for the final 22 minutes of the match, the Trojans still never broke through with their shots either going directly at the goalie, wide or over the goal.

Jessica Smoot finished with six shots, while Caitlyn Wright had five shots and Gina Dos Santos notched five. Godfrey finished with 15 saves -- nine in the first half -- in a gutsy, shutout performance in goal.

Midfielder April Jacobs had just one shot on the afternoon but led Mount Olive's attack with her dribbling and passing from the center midfield position. Jacobs and Shaw believe the first half was especially frustrating to the Mount Olive offense as they fired 14 total shots.

"We had some big opportunities we didn't capitalize on. For the rest of the season, we've got to capitalize on the critical moments," Jacobs said.

Mount Olive had five of its 15 corner kicks in the first 15 minutes of play, but never managed to get on the board.

N.C. Wesleyan's win proved especially sweet for a pair of Wayne County natives and Bishop starters -- Bryanne Brown (Eastern Wayne) and Jennifer Dudley (Charles B. Aycock). Brown played a solid game defensively for Wesleyan, especially late in the game. The former Warrior posted a slide-tackle in the middle of the 18-yard box to halt a Trojan attack with three minutes left in the game.

"We stepped it up and played as a team. It was a very physical game, and they kept pounding balls at the goal," Brown said. "This feels awesome."

Mount Olive, which has scored two goals or less in each of its last five matches, will take a 2-0 CVAC record into Saturday's match at Limestone in Gaffney, S.C.