Women's Soccer drops conference opener to Rhodes, 5-3

Jessie Sperry (photo by Keith Lucas)
Jessie Sperry (photo by Keith Lucas)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—A strong second half, led by two goals from sophomore Jessie Sperry, was not enough for the Birmingham-Southern women's soccer team Saturday afternoon on Goldfarb Field at BSC Soccer Park as the Panthers dropped their Southern Athletic Association opener to Rhodes College, 5-3.

The loss drops the Panthers to 3-6 on the season and 0-1 early in the conference schedule. Rhodes used the win to improve to 9-2 this season with a 1-0 SAA record.

Rhodes broke the scoreless tie early in the first half with an unassisted goal in the 14th minute, and followed that with a another goal three minutes later. The Lynx would extend the lead to four after a goal in the 28th minute and another with just one second remaining in the first half.

After the halftime break the Panthers would yield one additional goal before finding their rhythm. A mere minute after the final Lynx score of the match, Sperry found the back of the net in the 61st minute off a pass from senior Bailey Kimbell. Two minutes later Sperry moved through the heart of the Lynx defense to tally her second goal, this time an unassisted score. The Panther offense continued to threaten and in the 86th minute Kimbell was taken down in the box during a shot attempt. Kimbell would knock home the penalty kick to draw BSC within two goals but that would be as close as the comeback for the Panthers would get.

Sophomore Avery Newcomb led the Panthers with four of their 13 shots. BSC only earned one foul in the contest compared to 16 Lynx fouls. Senior goalkeeper Richelle Byrd posted six saves on the afternoon, stopping three of the four shots from Rhodes in the second half to help in the BSC comeback bid.

The Panthers return to action next weekend for two more conference affairs, hosting Centre on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sewanee on Sunday at 2:30 p.m., both at Goldfarb Field at BSC Soccer Park.