By Zack Penalva
It was back to winning ways for the Asbury women’s soccer team, as they were able to pull off a late comeback and position themselves in the top half of the KIAC. It took a brace from freshman Shanda Painter and a tally from junior Meredith Ury to overcome two second-half goals from the Carlow University Celtics.
Even with temperatures in the low 80s at the game’s 2 p.m. kickoff, the Eagles wasted no time establishing dominance in the middle of the field. This early attacking led to the game’s opening goal in the eleventh minute, when a long diagonal ball found Jenna Bird on the right wing. Bird took the ball past her defenders before cutting it back into the box from the goal line. Painter was positioned well in the box, and her shot hit the hands of the Celtics goalkeeper as well as the crossbar before bouncing into the goal.
Bird’s runs would be a reoccurring theme in the first half; she was released down the right hand side again in the twenty-seventh minute, but hit the outside netting of the goal when she attempted to shoot from an extremely tight angle. Two minutes later, she had another chance to find Painter in the middle, but the freshman couldn’t direct the near post cross towards a goal.
The tide of the game shifted suddenly in the last five minutes of the first half, as the Eagles appeared to tire. Carlow took advantage, but saw three different scoring opportunities denied by the Eagles’ goalkeeper, Lizzie Hoffa.
Asbury was saved by the halftime whistle, but came out completely flat in the second half and struggled to hold on to the ball, especially in the midfield. As a result, the Celtics continued to attack and tied the game at 1-1 in the fifty-fifth minute, when a long ball into the box was knocked down and tapped in by Carlow midfielder Ashley Formato.
Things got worse for the Eagles when a shot by Celtics’ midfielder Kathleen Riley, from 30-plus yards, looped over the hands of Hoffa and into the back of the net.
Going down 2-1 was enough to spur the Eagles back into the game, as they finally began to play like the side that had dominated the first half. The chance to equalize came in the seventy-eighth minute when Painter was chopped down in the box by a Celtics defender. Sophomore Cassie Holland stepped up to take the penalty and bag her sixth goal of the season, but her low shot was parried away by Carlow’s goalkeeper Ashlyn Fratto.
The miss did nothing to slow down the Eagles’ attack, and it was Bird from the right side of the field who again played provider, this time to Meredith Ury. Ury volleyed the high cross under the goalkeeper from 10 yards out and tied the game at 2-2.
Five minutes from time, Painter got on the end of a cross from Ury and knocked the ball into the back of the net from six yards. Ury had plenty of time to pick her target, and Painter was alone in front of the goal after the goalkeeper was drawn to the near post.
With the win, the Eagles have improved to 2-0 in their conference, tying them in the standings with Carlow and Point Park University. They have three non-conference games in October before taking on Midway College at home on October 17.