The Oglethorpe women's soccer team got exactly the start they wanted to the 2017 season Friday night, as they bounced back from an early 1-0 deficit to defeat Agnes Scott, 2-1, on a breezy evening at the Oglethorpe Track and Field. Freshman midfielder Maddie Cornell led the way for Oglethorpe, as she had a hand in both Oglethorpe goals. She scored one and assisted on the other.
After the visitors pushed ahead against the run of play within 12 minutes, the Petrels refused to get discouraged. They quickly turned the game around on a couple of set pieces. Sophomore midfielder Jalisa Kassam put a shot on goal off a free kick from 25 yards out in the 17th minute, and Agnes Scott goalkeeper Iara Moran was unable to corral it. The ball fell to Cornell in the box, and she was able to hammer it home to tie the game at 1-1.
In the 32nd minute, the Petrels won a corner kick. Cornell took it and put in a perfect ball just in front of the near post. Sophomore forward Medina Besic redirected it into the net to give Oglethorpe a 2-1 lead less than 20 minutes after they fell behind.
"Sometimes you go down a goal against the run of play," said Oglethorpe head coach Wes Anania. "But I thought we progressed in the right way, and once we got the first goal back, we started to believe in ourselves. This being the first game, we know going forward that if we get down a goal, we can come back."
The Petrels still had to see out the final 60 minutes, and both teams had a few opportunities in the second half. Oglethorpe freshman goalkeeper Lindsey Bolas made two big saves over the final 45 minutes, though, and the Oglethorpe defense was able to snuff out every Scottie scoring chance in the final period. The Petrels put five shots on goal in the second period, also, but were unable to score any more against Moran, who tallied 11 saves on the night. They were able to see the game out, though, even through a rain storm over the final 10 minutes.
Bolas finished with the two saves and picked up her first collegiate victory. Besic led the Petrels with four shots, while senior midfielder Celina Kassam and sophomore forward Kayla Trice fired three apiece. Oglethorpe outshot Agnes Scott 22-4, including a 13-3 mark in shots on goal.
The Petrels saw 18 players get into the game, including seven newcomers, which should pay dividends going forward.
"Overall, it was a big deal getting our first win of the season," said Anania. "I'm happy with the way we played. To beat a team that we lost to last year in our first game says a lot about this group, that they're really invested in what we're trying to do. We got a lot of good experience in this game, and I think we were able to see and adjust to the higher speed and physical play that comes with playing in competitive games. Hopefully, we'll take that going forward into the Wesleyan game and be able to come out here and get another win."
The Petrels will take on the visiting Wolves at 7 p.m. Wednesday night from the Oglethorpe Track and Field before hitting the road to take on NAIA squad Bryan Friday evening at 5 p.m. in Dayton, Tennessee.