Lady Railsplitters fall to USC Aiken in OT
AIKEN, S.C. — Despite a furious final minute that saw the Lady Railsplitters stave off defeat, Caroline Gillespie scored in the 93rd minute to push the USC Aiken Pacers past LMU, 2-1, in nonconference women’s soccer action on Wednesday. Lincoln Memorial University drops to 7-4-1 with the loss while the Pacers jump to 8-5.
The Pacers found their way onto the scoreboard quickly in the match, as Haley Pipkin received a Jenna Beauregard corner kick in the middle of the box and hammered home her first goal of the season to give USC Aiken a 1-0 advantage.
The goal stood as the lone score in the first 45 minutes of play despite a number of chances for both squads. Lincoln Memorial registered four shots on goal including three over a four-minute span, however, Pacer keeper Alli Edens kept the Lady Railsplitters at bay with four saves in the half. The Pacers churned out six first-half shots on goal, and LMU netminder Kayla Stephens stonewalled five of those attempts.
The match bogged down in the second half with the two teams combining for only seven shot attempts and five shots on goal heading into the final minute of regulation. With the Lady Railsplitters still facing a 1-0 deficit, Michelle Hunter broke through on the eighth and final shot attempt of regulation. The freshman found the back of the net with only two ticks left, her team-leading seventh goal of the season, to push the game into overtime.
The Lady Railsplitters registered the first shot attempt of the extra period, as senior defender Sam Adams put a shot on frame at the 91:39 mark that was subsequently stymied by the Pacer keeper. With a quick counter, USC Aiken built their offense, turned upfield and scored in the 93rd minute. Megan Smits found Gillespie streaking up the left side where Gillespie netted her second goal of the season to give the Pacers a 2-1 overtime win.
Hunter led LMU with four shots and three on goal while Adams and Rachael Vienneau added two shots apiece with three combined shots on frame. Jenna Beauregard paced USC Aiken with three shots and two on frame.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kayla Stephens was handed the loss after surrendering two goals in 92:04 minutes of action for the Lady Railsplitters. The Keller, Texas, native had seven stops on the night, the second most of her season. Edens and Melissa Westphal combined for the win in net for the Pacers. Edens did not allow a goal while recording five saves in 47:04 while Westphal relinquished one score with two saves in 45 minutes of work.
The Lady Railsplitters return to the pitch on Saturday with a trip to Anderson, S.C., to take on the Anderson Trojans in South Atlantic Conference action at 1 p.m.
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