September 1, 2012

Women's Soccer ties with Mississippi College in season opener, 1-1

SEWANEE, Tenn.—The Birmingham-Southern women's soccer team kicked off the season today with a 1-1 tie against Mississippi College at the Sewanee Invitational.

The Choctaws got on the board early in the first half. After settling down after conceding the goal, the Panthers began to gain momentum.

The game featured the debut of Southern's new freshman class, with their presence being felt both offensively and defensively. While sustaining MC's attacking forces, freshman defender Ashley Prouty calmly cleared the ball up the field to freshman midfielder Sarah Lombardi. Lombardi made a hard cut from the outside of the field into the middle, where she found freshman Jessie Sperry wide open thirty yards in front of the net. Sperry showed poise and took a few touches, drawing the attention of the goalkeeper before putting the ball past her to tie the game.

The second half saw the momentum swing even more the way of the Panthers. Near misses were the storyline as BSC recorded 17 shots on the night. One of those misses was a rocket strike by freshman Sammy Manzo that ricocheted off the crossbar, nearly missing for the go-ahead goal.

In the first overtime period, junior goalkeeper Richelle Byrd, who had not had to make a play in the previous half, was dialed in and came up huge with an extension dive that prevented MC from scoring the game-winner. As a result of Byrd's save, the Choctaws were awarded a corner kick. On the next play, MC appeared to have shot the ball into the net, but Manzo cleared it from the goal line off her forehead.

BSC returns to the pitch tomorrow for a quick turnaround, facing Methodist University at noon.