PEMBROKE – The UNCP women’s soccer team faced a ‘must-win’ Peach Belt Conference game on Wednesday afternoon after drawing PBC opponent Clayton State last Saturday. The Black and Gold were able to pick up that ‘must-win’ when they returned to Varsity Grounds and fought hard to down USC Aiken, 2-1.
The win gave UNCP (7-3-1, 2-2-1 PBC) its second victory of the still-young conference season, while USC Aiken (2-8-0, 0-5-0) remained winless in league play.
The first goal of the game came late in the first half, 35:13, when UNCP newcomer Anna Svensson’s shot found the back of the net after a cross from senior Sam Dunn. Svensson sealed the deal at 42:38 with an unassisted goal, her 10th of the season, to take the Lady Braves up 2-0 in the second half.
“She is a goal-scoring threat,” said head coach Lars Andersson of Svensson. “She is strong, physical, has a great shot while also being a great one-on-one finisher and she is comfortable being the go-to player.”
As for senior co-captain Dunn, who helped the Lady Braves get on the board, Andersson could not have been happier with her performance on the field. “Sam is an unsung hero because she doesn’t show up in the stat sheet a lot. But today she was bar-none the best player on the field; she won everything. Sam is 5-4 and she is out there winning every header and she has a fitness level that is incredible.
“Sam is fast, fit and dangerous, and covers as much ground in the 89th minute as she does in the first minute. She is an unbelievable work horse who doesn’t care if she’s the headline - she just gets her work done.”
Unfortunately for the Black and Gold, tough luck got the best of them again - when USC Aiken’s only goal came at 51:20 from senior Jennifer Goodwin who shot off a corner kick taken by Pacer newcomer Jenny Pineiro. “After halftime I don’t know if we got too comfortable but once again we find a way to let the other team back into the match.” Andersson explained.
“Even though we statistically dominated and continued to create the better goal-scoring opportunities, once USC Aiken put that goal in the back of the net; a one-goal lead is one of the scariest things to have - and I’m proud of the girls for battling and winning a game like this that had a tight lead.”
The Lady Braves face more Peach Belt Conference play this weekend when they host Georgia Southwestern at Varsity Grounds on Saturday afternoon with a kickoff slated for 1 p.m.