Lady Chants strike twice late to rally past UNC Asheville

The Coastal Carolina women’s soccer team scored two second-half goals less than five minutes apart to rally for a 2-1 victory over UNC Asheville on Thursday in Big South Conference action at Greenwood Field.

Sophomore forward Kacey Kelley tied the game with her seventh goal of the season and junior Christina Stern provided the game-winner, giving the Chanticleers their fourth victory in five games. Coastal moved over the .500 mark in Big South play for the first time this season, improving to 4-3-0 in the conference and 7-7-0 overall. Asheville dropped to 3-12-0 and 1-6-0.

The Chants were forced to battle from behind almost from the outset as Asheville struck in the opening minute of the game on Kaitlyn Eckert’s team-high eighth goal of the year.

Coastal, though, regrouped and controlled most of the play the remainder of the first half, outshooting the Bulldogs 7-3 and drawing five corner kicks. Four of the shots and three of the corners came in a nine-minute stretch midway through the half. Freshmen midfielders Camille Christie and Fia Jonsson each put attempts on goal that were stopped by Asheville keeper Heather Muller and sophomore forward Kacey Kelley had a shot off a Jonsson corner kick that went high.

Asheville notched the first three shots of the second half, before senior Ali Morin put an attempt on goal for the Chanticleers. Kelley then scored the equalizer in the 63rd minute off an assist by senior Maggie McGavin. After getting the feed from McGavin, Kelley blasted a 20-yard shot into the upper half of the net. It was McGavin’s first career point.

Stern then put Coastal ahead, following up her own shot off the crossbar to put home the rebound in the 67th minute for her second tally of the year, both of them game-winners.

Coastal recorded just one shot the remainder of the game, but the Chants’ defense allowed Asheville few opportunities to tie the game. The Bulldogs took only two more shots, with Chanticleer junior goalkeeper Megan Spencer making a save on the last one in the 78th minute.

Coastal finished with a 13-9 advantage in shots for the game, including a 7-4 edge in attempts on goal. The Chants totaled five corner kicks to the Bulldogs’ two. Spencer played all 90 minutes and totaled three saves as Coastal notched its first non-shutout victory of the season.

Senior Morgan Thomas made her second appearance of the year for the Chanticleers. Thomas, who had been sidelined by injury before returning last week against Radford, played the last 15 minutes of the first half against the Bulldogs.

The Chants return home Saturday to host Presbyterian at 10 a.m. in the first of three consecutive games at the CCU Soccer Field.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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