MT. PLEASANT, SC August 15, 2014 – After a sixth-minute goal by senior Sarah Cardamone, the College of Charleston women’s soccer team battled Georgia State to a 1-1 draw in exhibition play at Patriots Point on Friday afternoon.
Utilizing the friendly nature of the match, head coach Christian Michner cycled 17 different players onto the pitch, including 10 freshmen who got their first taste of collegiate soccer.
“It’s great to finally step out and play against another team,” said Michner. “I really thought Georgia State had a lot of quality today; they’re well coached and super organized. I have to give my team a lot of credit though. We played in a couple different formations and they handled both very well. It was an even match; 1-1 was probably a fair result.”
The match was largely contained in the central third with play flowing evenly from end to end as the teams exchanged runs at each other. The above-average level of substitutions perhaps disrupted the flow of the match, but served its purpose with the contest serving as the Cougars’ lone preseason tuneup before next weekend’s regular season opener.
As the match began to take its shape in the early going, Charleston sprung the ball forward into the attacking third and freshman Hannah Huizenga slotted Cardamone through the backline to put Cardamone one-on-one with the keeper. Cardamone confidently chipped the ball into the far left corner to give the Cougars a sixth-minute lead.
“It was a really good team buildup,” said Cardamone. “We built it out of the back with some passes through the midfield and then Hannah made a useful turn and slotted a ball to me through the center backs. It was a perfect through-ball for me to hit first touch.”
Just over 10 minutes later, however, GSU equalized when Whitney Ravan played a low cross through the box from the right side, and Ashley Nagy one-timed the ball into the left side of the net to level the score.
The Cougars played a disciplined brand of soccer and committed just three fouls in the match, compared to GSU’s 12.
Despite the rapid substitutions, junior Hope Walker, sophomore Danielle Mellem, and freshmen Rio Speller-Drews and Tracey Webster offered a full 90 minutes. Walker preserved the 1-1 draw late in the first half after a defensive miscue sprung Nagy alone towards goal, but Walker hustled back and made a sliding, eleventh-hour clearance on the goal line.
Freshmen goalkeepers Caty Parker and Genevieve Henderson split the second half in goal and each made one save. Senior Taylor Avery tended the goal in the first half.
The Cougars now shift their focus to next weekend’s regular season opener when they play host to Alabama State on Friday, Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. and crosstown rival Charleston Southern on Sunday, Aug 24.
“Obviously we’ll now start to prepare for our opening match,” said Michner. “This was a chance for us to test some players in different spots. The freshmen, I thought, did fantastic all over the field in their first college matches. It was important for them to get as much playing time today as possible to make them as comfortable as possible for when we open up next weekend against Alabama State. We’ll put in a great week of training this week to prepare for a successful opening weekend.”