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Mountaineer defense holds strong in win over Georgia Southern

Senior+forward+Izzi+Wood+brings+the+ball+up+the+field+against+Georgia+Southern+Sept.29.
Courtesy of Joel Franquiz, App State Atheltics
Senior forward Izzi Wood brings the ball up the field against Georgia Southern Sept.29.

The Mountaineers faced Georgia Southern in Boone Friday for a defensive battle that saw excellent performances from graduate student goalkeeper Kerry Eagleston and senior forward Izzi Wood. 

The Black and Gold remain undefeated in conference play after the 1-0 win at home.

App State’s heavy counter-attack offense started strong with early goal-scoring opportunities. An early shot by freshman midfielder Olivia Simon rang off the crossbar. Around the 25-minute mark, Simon had another opportunity that forced a diving save from Eagles’ goalkeeper Quinn Wilson.

Simon was extremely active on the left wing for App State early, and contributed to multiple scoring opportunities. The Black and Gold freshman showed great confidence and ability early in the match.

Despite early opportunities from the Mountaineers, Georgia Southern balanced the game out with a possession-heavy attack. The Eagles outshot the Black and Gold 11-7 in the first half, but Eagleston and the App State backline shined throughout the game. Eagleston posted her 23rd career shutout highlighted by a diving save 11 minutes into the game.

“Kerry was awesome tonight. Definitely earned herself that shutout,” said head coach Aimee Haywood. “That backline worked hard as well. They block shots and crosses too. Everyone just puts in the work for each other and they deserved this one.”

  The Mountaineers started the second half with intensity and poise. Just two minutes in, Wood touched the ball over the keeper for a solo goal putting App State up 1-0. This goal brings Wood to five on the season, one under her team-high six goals from last season, despite having six games remaining.

“We’re getting better every game,”  Wood said. “Our coaches have helped prepare us for the next level, and our players have developed tremendously over the past year. I get perfect balls and I’m just lucky enough to be in the right place to score them.” 

Wood had a game-high eight shots, while junior forward Stephanie Barbosa and junior midfielder Sarah Widderich posted three shots each.

The Black and Gold attack looked poised with help from a controlling midfield. Barbosa was set up for a powerful shot requiring a strong save by Georgia Southern with 17 minutes remaining.

App State looked to close out strong, but not without a late scare. With just 15 seconds left in the game, a free kick left the Eagles with one last opportunity to even the score. The initial shot was punched out by Eagleston, but left her out of position for a second save. Georgia Southern got one last shot off, but the defensive line held strong in front of the net and blocked the ball as time expired.

The hard-fought win pushes the Mountaineers to second in the Sun Belt East Division conference standings. They remain undefeated at home and in Sun Belt play.

App State plays again Thursday in Mobile, Alabama as they take on South Alabama. The match will be streamed on ESPN+.

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About the Contributor
Avin Patel
Avin Patel, Reporter
Avin Patel is a sophomore finance and banking major. This is his first year with The Appalachian.
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