10/04/07 — Mount Olive ties Pfeiffer in rain storm

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Mount Olive ties Pfeiffer in rain storm

By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on October 4, 2007 2:59 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The sun was shining and the Mount Olive women's soccer team was enjoying a one-goal advantage late in the second half against Pfeiffer.

Then, dark clouds rolled in and brought heavy rains. With the sun gone, the Trojans' lead soon vanished as well. In-state rival Pfeiffer scored a late goal in the final three minutes of play to force a 3-3 tie with Mount Olive on Wednesday afternoon at Amon Field.

Due to the heavy rain and sloppy field conditions, the teams did not play overtime and settled for a draw. The Trojans improved to 3-6-2 overall and 2-1-2 in Conference Carolinas play, while the Falcons (5-6-2) exited 4-1-1 in the league.

"It was a shame," said Mount Olive coach Matt Hisler. "The girls played really well. I thought their game-tying goal was a direct effect of the conditions."

Mount Olive entered the second half trailing 2-1, but that quickly changed. Pfeiffer drew a hand-ball penalty in the box and Trojan senior April Jacobs converted with a shot to the back right corner.

It was Jacobs' fourth goal of the season.

"April's a big-time player," said Hisler. "She's calm in pressure situations and did a great job of putting it away."

Four minutes later, Mount Olive took the lead.

Lauren Pullen fed a pass to Gina Dos Santos to the right of the goal box. Santos then kicked a bullet pass to the front of the goal. A streaking Alyecia Higgins collided with Pfeiffer goalie Suzie Hinman and knocked the ball into the net for a 3-2 lead.

"Alyecia gets the goal on the end of good movement by the players before her," said Hisler. "Alyecia just ran through and was lucky to get that chance."

Leading 3-2, Mount Olive thwarted scoring chance after scoring chance from the Falcons. Goalie Ali O'Steen and defenders Portia Taylor, Erynn Marino and Caitlyn Wright all took turns making big defensive plays to keep Mount Olive in the lead.

Then, with 10 minutes remaining, the rain came.

What began as a drizzle turned into a near monsoon. The field became filled with large puddles causing the ball to come to a full stop on passes.

The Falcons used those conditions to tie up the game.

With Mount Olive maintaining control of the ball on the Pfeiffer side of the field, the Falcons counterattacked. Megan Blevins passed to Madison Kerth and had the ball die in a puddle. The defending Mount Olive player ran right past Kerth allowing her to have an open shot at the goal to tie the game at 3-3.

"Pfeiffer fought really hard and made the best of the conditions," said Hisler. "We could have certainly done without the rain."

With three minutes to play, the Trojans attacked the Falcons' end of the field, but couldn't come up with the winning goal. The Trojans will try to get back into the Conference Carolinas race when they travel to play Converse (S.C.) on Saturday.

"If it would've waited 10 or 15 more minutes (to rain), I think we would have finished 3-2," said Hisler. "But you know, it wasn't meant to be."