Bulldogs Net Two Goals Late to Stun Crosstown Rival Cougars, 3-2
Charleston, S.C. – The Citadel soccer team beat the College of Charleston in exciting fashion on Wednesday afternoon as the Bulldogs capitalized with two unanswered second half goals to top the Cougars 3-2 on WLI Field. The win is The Citadel's first in program history against College of Charleston and keeps their Southern Conference Tournament chances alive.
The Bulldogs (5-11-3, 3-6-2) came out of the gate fired up in a must win situation, but it was the Cougars who struck first off a foul shot pass near the box to Sarah Cardamone, who drilled a laser into the top corner of the net past Citadel keeper Sarah Katchen in the 21st minute to give the College of Charleston (11-7-1, 7-3-1) a quick 1-0 lead.
The Citadel's defense settled in after the score and the offense managed to get some good looks on Cougar goalie Cricket Wise. It wasn't until the 34th minute that the sophomore tandem of Vanessa Aponte and Mariana Garcia would strike for the Bulldogs as Garcia grounded a shot that deflected off the goalie and onto the foot of Aponte who netted her seventh goal of the season to even the score at one goal apiece. Garcia and Aponte finished the first half with a combined five shots, four of which were on goal as the first half ended in a 1-1 tie.
The Bulldogs came out in the second half and dominated play on both ends of the field as captain Amy Loughran received three header opportunities, but was unable to connect for the go ahead goal as the score remained even.
It wasn't until the 73rd minute of play that Cougar midfielder Hannah Gmerek put the go-ahead and potential season-ending dagger in the net on a centered pass by McCallie Jones to give the College of Charleston a 2-1 lead with 16 minutes left in the final period.
With the time dwindling down and the season on the line, the Bulldogs stepped up and dominated the Cougars as Aponte beat the defense herself and rocketed her team-leading eighth goal of the season and second of the game to bring the score to an even two goals apiece with 12 minutes left.
Realizing that a win was necessary to stay alive, the Bulldogs went back to battle and attacked the net for the final 10 minutes of play. The strategy proved to pay off in the 83rd minute when freshman Anastasia Mesa dropped a perfect cross pass to the wide open Garcia who fired a solid shot into the top corner of the net to give The Citadel a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish.
Aponte's seven shots on the day give her a total of 83 on the season, which is a new season-high in Citadel soccer history. The sophomore is now just 29 shots away from the career record, with 136 in her two-year's with the Bulldogs.
"We started off rough this year, but we came out strong and fought to the last minute today," said senior captain Amy Loughran. "We came to the field to achieve one thing and we were successful. Another record broken in Citadel history and we are proud of it!"
The three goals scored are the most that The Citadel has posted on their rivals in 11 meetings between the two teams. With a Western Carolina loss or draw tonight against Appalachian State, the Bulldogs receive the eighth seed in the tournament and will travel to Birmingham, Ala., to take on Samford in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament on Sunday, Oct. 30.
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