Mountaineers prove they won’t back down

The+App+State+women%27s+soccer+team+huddles+up+on+the+field+before+facing+Western+Carolina+on+Thursday+night.+Photo+by+Maleek+Loyd

The App State women’s soccer team huddles up on the field before facing Western Carolina on Thursday night. Photo by Maleek Loyd

Ian Taylor

The App State women’s soccer team dug deep during their first regular season match with Northern Kentucky, showing their Mountaineer spirit in a second half comeback win.

Beginning the game with a fast and forceful attacking rhythm, the Mountaineers kept the Norse’ goalkeeper under fire for most of the first half outshooting them 11-5.

Northern Kentucky was not expecting to roll over however with 2015 Horizon League Player of the Year, Macy Hamblin, leading the attack. Eventually, the Norse was able to take a one-goal lead in the 35th minute via the clinical forward’s header.

Ever-versatile senior defenseman Aubrey Fletcher attributed some of the slow start to confusion.

“I think in the first half we were a little confused where to be on defense: midfield, where we should stop, where the defense should stop and in the second half,” Fletcher said.

After Fletcher broke away towards the end of the first half with a shot that went just right, the Mountaineers seemed to lose momentum after the concession by slowing down their pace and being unable to translate possession to goals until the halftime whistle came.

The team walked into the locker room at halftime with an uphill battle looming, but they weren’t going down without a fight.

“I think we all stepped up and acted as a team,” Fletcher said.

The Mountaineers never allowed anything to get to them and came into the second half firing on all cylinders. From the first possession they had the look and feel of a dangerous and driven team.

Bombarding the box with nine shots in the second half, six of them on the mark, the Mountaineers’ attacking was relentless.

They finally broke through in the 53rd minute, with junior midfielder Sarah Peatross getting hold of a deflected shot and putting a momentum-shifting score into the net.

“I knew the goalie was probably going to deflect it or something like that, so you just bust your butt, work hard, get in the box and get any body part on it,” Peatross said.

As their onslaught of pressure continued possession after possession, Fletcher was the team’s utility weapon, pacing the field and being a beneficial piece to every part of the game.

“I always try to never stop running and work hard to benefit our team,” Fletcher said. “If I can create some energy, everybody will feed off of it.”

“We call her the energizer-bunny,” Peatross said with a laugh.

Senior forward Jane Cline peppered the box with four shots in 37 minutes of the second half, three of which were on target. Only two and a half minutes after Peatross’s leveling goal, Fletcher made a move to the goal, only to have it parried by the goalkeeper. Immediately getting to the loose ball was Cline, who fired it into the top of the net for the Mountaineers’ second goal of the half. Jane Cline spoke of how they were prepared for situations like this after the game.

“Aubrey made a great run across and the biggest thing we’ve been working on is following shots,” Cline said. “As soon as she shot it, I went straight to the goal and as soon as she parried it I finished it.”

With the comeback nearing completion, junior forward Erin Settle who missed last season with an ACL tear, was able to put the dagger in for the Mountaineers.

“It was really emotional,” she said. “I have my team supporting me 100% and there is no better feeling that.”

With Settle having not played in a competitive match at all last season, it was fitting that she was the one to cap off the Mountaineers home comeback victory.

And with Peatross finally healthy after nagging injuries, they made it clear to the rest of their opponents that no matter what happens, the Mountaineers won’t quit.

Story By: Ian Taylor, Intern Sports Reporter