Mountaineers domesticate Bobcats

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The Appalachian Online

Lee Sanderlin

Despite the rain, the cold and the change in starting time, Appalachian State had everything rolling for them in their 5-0 win against Sun Belt conference rival Texas State. The Mountaineers scored early and often en route to a surprisingly easy win against a Texas State team that had won their last seven contests entering Sunday’s game.

The game, originally slated for a 1 p.m. start, was moved up to 11 a.m. by request of Texas State coach Kat Conner in order to ease her team’s travel schedule. It seemed as if the Bobcats could have used the extra two hours of rest, as they never looked ready from the opening whistle.

The Mountaineers were an extremely efficient 5-6 on goals scored compared with shots on goals. Texas State also had six shots on goal, but found themselves unable to convert.

Forward Sam Childress started the scoring with her goal coming off assists by Jane Cline and Jackie Nieradka just 14 minutes into the game. The goal was Childress’ second of the season.

Sarah Moon scored her first goal of the year just before the end of the first half off of assists from Merlin Beckwith and Kate Ward. With the goal, the Mountaineers headed into the break with a lead 2-0.

The Apps wasted no time continuing their hunt for goals, with Merlin Beckwith providing the highlight of the day with a goal of her own, her third of the year, to put the Mountaineers up 3-0 at the start of the second half. Beckwith’s goal was a tremendous strike from 25 yards out on a free kick just eight minutes into the second half.

“In these type of conditions where the ball is slippery, the ground is slippery, you want to play the ball dangerously close between the goal keepers and your teammates running up,” Beckwith said. “I knew that if I wasn’t able to put the ball in the net my teammates would be there to clean it up for me.”

Following Beckwith’s goal was Jane Cline, scoring both the team’s fourth goal of the game and her fourth of the season, off of a Lindsey Tully assist.

Kate Ward also added a goal to go along with her assist, scoring her first of the season on an assist from Kat Greer at the 80 minute mark.

Both Ward and Beckwith attributed their team’s strong showing to a string of good practices, the weather and having everything finally clicking on the field.

“I think we definitely came together as a team today, using our home-field advantage along with our team strengths to our advantage,” Beckwith said. “We’ve been working on these things in practice.”

“We’ve been practicing [in the rain] for what, 10 days now?” Ward said. “We were definitely prepared for the conditions we faced today. Everyone really stepped up today.”

Head coach Sarah Strickland was in agreement with her players, coming away very impressed in the Mountaineer’s biggest win of the season.

“That was the best I have ever seen our team play,” Strickland said. “We did a great job capitalizing on chances and finishing them off. I am so proud of everyone, they were all outstanding today.”

All 22 active players on the Apps’ roster saw action during the match. The Mountaineer’s five goals scored were the most the team has scored since 2013, when they scored nine against The Citadel.

With the win, the Mountaineers improve to 6-3 on the year and 2-0-1 in Sun Belt play, earning seven conference points so far this season. The top eight teams in the conference points standings at the end of the regular season are eligible for the Sun Belt Conference Championship tournament.

Appalachian State will return to action Friday when they travel to South Alabama, the defending Sun Belt champions, marking the start of a four game road trip.

Story by: Lee Sanderlin, Sports Reporter