PEMBROKE – UNCP posted a dominating 8-0 shot advantage in the second half against visiting Lander, but the Bearcats used a 3-goal effort in the opening period to post a 3-1 victory over the Lady Braves Saturday afternoon at Varsity Grounds.
UNCP (8-5-1, 3-3-1 PBC) had just come off last week with a pair of victories in Peach Belt Conference play, and were hoping to pick up their third straight PBC win against Lander (9-1-2, 5-1-1 PBC). Unfortunately for the Black and Gold, Lander took control of the first period, tallying 13 shots in the first 45 minutes to UNCP’s six.
Lander’s first goal came late in the 19th minute from Christina Barbour who was assisted from a throw-in on UNCP’s side by Jamie Shaw and Christian Moss. Kelley Maupin tallied the second score for the Bearcats in the 24th minute when she headed Moss’ rebound shot into the back of the net. Just before halftime (40:02), Barbour was there again to tally the third and final score for the Bearcats with Rachel Datz and Shaw assisting.
“We didn’t show up to play in the first half and we got behind a very disciplined, very good team with great shape and great ball movement.” Said head coach Lars Andersson following the match. “When we have fallen behind to a solid Peach Belt Conference team, 3-0, in the first 45 minutes it’s very difficult to chase that game and get it back. We gave up 13 shots in the first half, but we made some changes in the second half.”
The UNCP team did make changes following their halftime meeting, returning to the field to offensively dominate their foe, outshooting the Bearcats, 8-0. With their onslaught of shots in the second half, Britney Joiner came through for the Black and Gold to place a floater over keeper Chelsea Beetch at 58:37. Joiner led the Lady Braves in shots, picking up five, while Anna Svensson followed with four and Sam Dunn tallied a trio. Also, with a shot apiece, were Faye Corbett and Rebecca Womack.
“I am ultimately responsible that the team did not come ready to play,” explained Andersson. “We were the better team for the last 45 minutes. Unfortunately we were perhaps the worst team in the Peach Belt for the first 45 minutes and gave up three goals. We did manage to get one back but the team still had to chase a game. We needed to get the game back level and send it into overtime and we were really nowhere close to that. I give Lander all the credit in the world. They deserved to win this game.
“I am concerned about where our team is at. We lack the proper leadership when we fall behind, we lack the ability to get back level, mentally and emotionally. I am wondering if we are we strong enough to battle in a game.”
The Lady Braves will have a chance to redeem themselves in the Peach Belt Conference standings next week when they travel to Georgia College on Wednesday and battle Armstrong Atlantic at home on Saturday. UNCP will head into next week in a three-way tie for fifth place out of the PBC’s 11 teams. Georgia College is currently sitting just ahead of UNCP in fourth place, while Armstrong Atlantic has first place honors all to themselves.
The UNCP /Armstrong Atlantic match-up will be held Saturday evening at Varsity Grounds. The 6 p.m. kickoff will be preceded by Senior Night festivities as the Lady Braves Class of 2009 – Heather Jones and Jenny Irvine – will be honored in a pregame ceremony.