Late game-winner puts Lady Chants on ESPN’s ‘Top Plays’

ccuwsoc-9Sophomore Ellie Taylor headed in the game-winning goal off a throw-in by Christina Stern just over four minutes into overtime to give the Coastal Carolina women’s soccer team a dramatic 2-1 victory over Charlotte on Friday night at CCU Soccer Stadium.

In fact, the game-winner made ESPN’s “Top Plays” list, not only for the last-minute drama but also for Stern’s acrobatic throw-in. She uses the ball to turn a cartwheel and hurls the ball goal-ward, where Taylor finished it off for the win.

Coastal moves to 2-1-0 and notched the program’s first overtime win since a 2-1 decision over Liberty in 2006, ending a streak of 17 games that went past regulation without a Chanticleer victory. Charlotte dropped to 1-1-0.

Taylor also assisted on Kacey Kelley’s first-half goal – her third in as many games – which gave Coastal a 1-0 edge. Charlotte put on the pressure late in regulation and was able to tie in the 85th minute.

The 49ers followed with several chances to take the lead, but junior goalkeeper Faith Farley made four saves, including several crucial stops to keep it tied.

Neither team generated a shot in the first overtime until Taylor’s goal. Stern set it up with a flip throw-in from the right side into the box. The ball went by Kelley, but Taylor was there in front of the goal mouth to follow up with a low header off a bounce from 10 yards out that she put past the outstretched hand of Charlotte goalkeeper Annika McHenry into the near corner. The goal was the third of Taylor’s career and the first game-winner.

Following an even and relatively defensively-controlled first half, the Chants held the advantage thanks to a nifty give-and-go play that Kelley converted in the 19th minute. The senior fed a pass ahead to Taylor, who one-touched it back to her as she cut toward the box. Kelley dribbled twice and put a high shot over the leaping McHenry for her 19th career tally.

Taylor had a good chance to make it 2-0 right away after halftime as she put a rebound on net following a blocked shot by Stern, but McHenry was able to get over and make the save. However, it was the precursor to a wide-open second half, especially in the last 20 minutes, when the 49ers increased their attack.

Farley made seven of her career-high 12 saves in that span, beginning with a point-blank rebound attempt off a blocked shot. Several minutes later, she dove to her left to stop a curling shot from the left side of the box headed for the right corner.

Coastal came back with another chance of its own as junior Miki Antzoulatos hit a perfect shot toward the upper left corner, but a leaping McHenry was able to stop it.

The 49ers then found the equalizer on a counter-attack as Perri Bonner took a centering pass from Sara Trexler and put her shot past Farley into the top left corner. The goal was the first allowed by the Chanticleers at home in five games dating back to last season.

However, Farley answered the threats after that, preventing any others and forcing the game into overtime.

Charlotte finished with a 22-17 edge in shots, including 14-10 in the second half. The 49ers put 13 attempts on goal, while the Chants totaled nine. Kelley recorded six shots, while Stern had three. McHenry finished with seven saves for Charlotte.

Coastal finishes off its three-game home stretch on Sunday when it hosts Wofford, with kickoff set for 2 p.m.

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