|Niners stage second-half comeback to stay unbeaten|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte surrendered its first goal of the season but never gave up, scoring two second-half goals to topple Gardner-Webb 2-1 Tuesday night in non-conference women’s soccer action at Transamerica Field. The victory keeps the 49ers perfect through the first three matches of the campaign for the first time since 2009.
Gardner-Webb jumped out in front 1-0 at 8:29 as the Runnin’ Bulldogs put pressure on the Niners defense early. Shelby Hooe sent a corner kick near the goal mouth, which was punched away by Charlotte (3-0) goalkeeper Alex Kubrick, the reigning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week. A second attempt from the corner by Hooe five seconds later found the head of Whitley Bowman, who redirected it in between the pipes to give the visitors the early cushion.
Despite the deficit, the 49ers kept fighting back. Many of the team’s nine shots just missed high or wide. Amanda Jones, a member of this week’s TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week, slipped free following a long pass. However, Jones, sent her attempt into the waiting arms of Gardner-Webb (0-1-1) netminder Amy Schmitt.
Tori Fubara and Alex Meyers also had shots stopped from the 18-yard box in, as the Runnin’ Bulldogs maintained the one-goal edge at the half.
Charlotte reversed the tide early in the second period, putting pressure on the visitor cage. Dakota Olson launched a 30-yarder, forcing Schmitt to make a leaping save and punching the ball over the crossbar. The 49ers finally broke through at 50:54 when Fubara made a run down the right side. She then crossed it back towards the top of the six-yard box, where it found SarahAnn Waugh who then placed it in the back of the net for the equalizer. It marked her second career goal and the first since her freshman year in 2010.
Once again, the Niners kept pushing forward and attempts by Nicole Anderson and Dana Robertson were blocked by the Gardner-Webb defense. However, the 49ers were able to break free for the game winner with just under 17 minutes left.
Monica Trickett, from her backline, sent a long through ball over the top of the Runnin’ Bulldogs defense. Perri Bonner ran onto the pass and raced down the left side. She then crossed the ball back across the goalmouth to Sara Trexler, who one-timed it into the net at 73:23 for what proved to be the game winner.
Trexler had two more looks at the cage in the final 10 minutes but neither attempt hit the twine. Robertson had the Niners’ final look but her shot nicked off the post to keep it a one-goal difference.
Trexler finished with a team-best four shots, including three on-goal, while Robertson and Jones each contributed three.
Kubrick collected four saves, while Schmitt stopped five Charlotte shots as both goalkeepers played the full 90 minutes.
Meagan Reynolds was the lone Gardner-Webb player with multiple shots, finishing with five, including three on-goal.
The 49ers return to action with a 7 p.m. Sunday match at Elon in Elon, N.C., in their first road contest of the campaign.