App State soccer kicks off spring season


Taylor Ward

Sophomore forward Stephanie Barbosa dribbles a ball against Radford Sept. 15, 2022.

Sarah Kruger, Reporter

Spring season began April 5 with a 3-0 win for the Mountaineers against Davidson at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex. This was the first of App State soccer’s matches occurring in the spring season; their first match against East Tennessee State University was canceled due to field conditions.

The first goal was scored 38 minutes into the first half as a result of a quick ball tapped into the center of the net by junior forward Breckyn Monteith. The goal came when Monteith got on the end of a right-corner kick which she was able to turn into a goal. 

This goal came after a relatively slow first half. Davidson tactically made use of the 4-4-2 soccer formation, which enlists the use of four defenders, four midfielders and two forwards. This formation “packs” the midfield by putting a lot of players in the area. As such, much of the action in the first half was confined to this area of the pitch. 

App State knew they were struggling to break past Davidson’s defense in the midfield, evidenced by just one goal in the first half, and switched tactics at halftime. 

“At halftime we talked about playing a little bit more direct, and it got us two quick goals,” head coach Aimee Haywood said. “We knew that they were playing with a lot of numbers in the middle, so as soon as we won the ball, defensively, we wanted to make sure we worked it wide or immediately forward.”

Due to the high volume of bodies in the midfield, the Black and Gold not only had a hard time breaking past Davidson’s defense, but also implementing a high press, which is when a team attacks and plays incredibly high in their opponent’s defensive third. 

However, once the Mountaineers changed tactics and were able to implement this high press, two subsequent goals came within minutes of the second half. The second goal came four minutes into the second half, the result of an easy challenge outside the 18-yard-box. 

Junior forward Izzi Wood surpassed the Davidson keeper, who came quite far out of the goalie box, to send a slow, rolling ball into the bottom right hand corner. One measured goal wasn’t enough for Wood, who netted her second goal less than one minute later. 

Wood’s second goal was much quicker and decisive than her first, quickly and powerfully shot into the lower right hand corner. With that, the Mountaineers were 3-0 up with no signs of stopping. 

These goals appeared to invigorate the Black and Gold, and as a result, the second half was far more action-packed in contrast to a slow first half. In the first half, Davidson attempted to slow the pace of the match through a number of methods, not the least of which was long-arcing passes back into play. 

Davidson’s efforts to slow the match in the second half through similar methods were in vain, as the relentless attacking press of the Mountaineers couldn’t be overcome. App State netted three goals but were still hungry for more. 

A fourth goal came for the Black and Gold in the closing three minutes of the match, however the goal was disallowed as the offside flag went up. With that, the final whistle blew, and the Mountaineers defeated Davidson 3-0. 

App State opened its spring matches with a strong start. These matches are largely “educational,” and their purpose is to “learn and grow,” Haywood said. If the 3-0 scoreline reflects how this team has grown since their previous fall season, it will be intriguing to see what the upcoming season holds. 

App State plays its next match Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Lees McRae at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.