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Slow Start Dooms Men’s Soccer in Opener, Women Down Mercer on the Road, 2-1

Jane Cline scored a goal in her season debut and helped the Mountaineers defeat Mercer, 2-1, on Sunday. Photo by Dave Mayo
Jane Cline scored a goal in her season debut and helped the Mountaineers defeat Mercer, 2-1, on Sunday. Photo by Dave Mayo

Appalachian State University men’s soccer fell to North Florida, 3-2, on Friday night in its 2015 season opener.

The Mountaineers (0-1-0) got off to a slow start and fell into an early 3-0 deficit. The Ospreys (1-0-0) opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a long forward ball to Milan Kovacs that he finished to the left of the Paul West (Apex, N.C./Apex).

North Florida stuck again is the 33rd minute and in the 37th minute and carried its advantage into the break.

“It took us too long to start playing, Said head coach Matt Nelson. “Going into the half down 3-0, we could have come back out and given up another two or three, but we showed determination, grit, and a will to battle back.”

The Mountaineers fought hard to claw back into the game in the second half. Cooper Coughlin (Suwanee, Ga./Lambert) got the Apps on the score sheet in the 75th minute when he was able to get a foot on a cross from Keegan Tanaka (Austin, Texas/James Bowie).

The Apps continued to battle to the end and were rewarded with a second goal. Stephen Chapman (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) gathered a ball that deflected off the goal keeper inside the six yard box and was able finish his chance. Ian Bennett (Wilmington, N.C./New Hanover) was credited with the assist.

“I am not proud of the result, or our first half performance, but I’ll take the way we played in the second half for the next 17 games, “said Nelson. “If we do that we will win some games.”

The Mountaineers have another game to play in Jacksonville before returning from their trip to Florida. They will face Jacksonville on Sunday at 12:00 p.m.

Women’s Soccer Downs Mercer on the Road, 2-1

Appalachian State University women’s soccer won on the road against Mercer on Sunday at Five Star Stadium. The Apps came back from a goal down to win, 2-1, on Merlin Beckwith’s penalty kick.

“Really proud of the girls for getting a win on the road today,” said head coach Sarah Strickland. “We had a lot of people step up today and it was definitely a team effort to get the result.”

The Mountaineers (2-1-0) went down,1-0, to the Bears (1-3-0) when Jamilah Tejan played a through ball to Haleigh Svede, who finished to ride side of the goal.

The Mountaineers had a great scoring chance in the 61st minute after successfully defending a free kick. The wall of defenders blocked the attempt and the ball fell to Jane Cline. Cline ran the length of the field but her shot was denied by the goal keeper.

Less than a minute later, Beckwith played a perfect pass through two defenders to Cline who launched a shot into the roof of the net for the equalizing goal.

The Apps continued to attack the Mercer goal and were rewarded when Sam Childress drew a foul in the penalty box in the 80th minute. Beckwith stepped up to the spot with a chance to put the Mountaineers in front for the second time in three games this season.

Beckwith drilled the penalty to the right side of the goal over the outstretched arms of the Mercer goal keeper. Beckwith now leads the team with six points and is only one point off of her season total from 2014. The Apps were able to hang on to their one goal advantage for the final 10 minutes to earn the road victory.

“Credit to Mercer for finding a way to get through the game even though there were complications with the weather. They were a disciplined, hardworking team that stuck to their game plan,” said Strickland. “A game like this will get us ready for our conference games in the Sun Belt.”

The Mountaineers are back in action next weekend on the road for two matches in Fairfax, Va. On Friday the Apps will face UMBC at 7:30 p.m. Then, the Black and Gold will take on Strickland’s alma mater, Georgia Mason, on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.