CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Despite a hard fought game and a second half goal from Carrie Dail, the Charlotte 49ers women’s soccer team fell to the undefeated and 19th-ranked La Salle Explorers, 2-1 in conference play on Friday night at Transamerica Field. With the loss, the Niners fall to 5-8-4 on the season and 2-3-1 in conference play. The Explorers improve to an impressive 14-0-1 and 6-0-0 in the Atlantic 10.
Kelsey Haycook of La Salle scored her second of the night and 14th of the season in the 87th minute to put the Explorers on top, 2-1. Following a La Salle corner kick, the ball was played to the far side of the field and corralled by rookie Maryam Huseini. Huseini crossed it in for Haycook, who headed it into the back left corner of the net.
“It was a battle between two very good teams tonight,” head coach John Cullen said after the match. “Both teams played with a lot of heart and commitment. Full credit to La Salle, they got the first goal and put us on our back foot. I thought we responded very well, particularly in the second half to get after them. It was a heartbreaking loss, but I’m proud of our effort. Sunday we’ve got to win. It’s as simple as that.”
La Salle took a 1-0 lead in the first half on Haycook’s first marker of the evening. Kierstyn Mabey was credited with the assist on the play.
Trailing by a goal in the 60th minute, the 49ers were able to even the score on a goal by junior Carrie Dail, her second of the season. On a pass from rookie Jessica Ryan, Dail beat La Salle keeper Melissa Sanger, who had previously given up just three goals on the season, tapping the ball into the back left corner for the equalizer.
“Carrie is one of those players that her work ethic is her probably her greatest quality,” Cullen said, “and that goal was a pure result of her working off the ball. She had a hard run after a nice pass, got on the end of it and put it away.”
Contrary to what the final score showed, it was Charlotte who controlled much of the match, putting La Salle back on their heels in the majority of the second half. The Niners had three excellent second half scoring opportunities from Macky Wingo and Jonna Handra.
In the 70th minute, Wingo put a shot on net that forced Sanger to make a diving save to her left. Then, in the 78th minute, Handra ripped a shot that the keeper managed to get a hand on before it rolled just wide of the mouth of the goal. Finally, with seven minutes remaining in the game, Wingo booted a ball that sailed just high over the crossbar.
Shot totals for the game were nearly even, with the Explorers holding a 12-11 edge. Charlotte had a 5-3 advantage in corners.
Sophomore Alex Kubrick made three saves for the Niners in the loss, while Sanger had three of her own.
The 49ers are at home on Sunday in a critical conference match against Fordham. The game, which is also Senior Day for the Niners, begins at 1 p.m. at Transamerica Field.