HICKORY, NC - The Pfeiffer University women’s soccer team (0-2-0) showed fierce resilience in a 3-2 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne University (2-0-0) in the final match of the Lenoir-Rhyne Classic. In the closest contest of the weekend, Lenoir-Rhyne led the way in shots 19-11, but in the shots on goal column both squads would be neck and neck at eight apiece.
Lenoir-Rhyne took advantage of their home field early in the opening stanza, when junior Hanna Kiebel cradled a through ball from sophomore Leah Mullins and pushed it past freshman Pfeiffer goalkeeper Kate Halligan in the fifth minute of play. Lenoir-Rhyne would again find the back of the Pfeiffer net when sophomore Kendall Smith launched a shot from just inside the Lady Falcons’ 18-yard box. The shot would find the upper left corner of the goal, just slipping past the outstretched fingertips of Halligan.
The halftime horn sent both squads to the break with Pfeiffer down 2-0, but the Lady Falcons refused to waver and entered the second half with a renewed focus. Lenoir-Rhyne began the second half with a goalkeeper change, replacing freshman net-minder Andrea Leano with veteran junior Genny Little.
Following several attempts by Pfeiffer to get on the scoreboard in the opening minutes of the second frame, the Lady Falcons finally found the back of the net in the 64th minute. Following a beautiful through ball from senior Mandi Roan, sophomore Aaliyah Jackson found herself face-to-face with Lenoir-Rhyne’s keeper in front of the Bears’ net. Jackson waited a half step for Little to commit to the ground and chipped a nice lob over the keeper’s head into the back of the net for Pfeiffer’s first tally of the 2013 season.
The Lady Falcons netted the game’s equalizer in the 78th minute. Dribbling across the center of the field with a Lenoir-Rhyne defender hot on her heels, freshman Brae Buster made a quick-footed move around her pursuer and launched a shot from the 18-yard line. The shot would find its mark in the upper right corner of the Bears’ net, besting Little and drawing cheers from the Pfeiffer bench.
Less than three minutes later however, the momentum shifted when Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore Leah Mullins received a quck pass in the center from sophomore Garcelle Alequine and pushed it past Halligan for the game’s final tally. Halligan finished the match with five saves, besting both her opponents on the opposite end of the field.
The game was not unlike Pfeiffer’s Friday contest in the foul column with Lenoir-Rhyne drawing 13 total team fouls to the Lady Falcons’ four.
Pfeiffer returns to action on September 11, 2013 when they take on UNC-Pembroke in Pembroke, NC at 6 p.m.