By Jake Bacon, Chattanooga, TN—Lady Mocs soccer team fell short in a pair of conference games at Finley stadium over the weekend

Fighting for the ball
Fighting for the ball: Freshman Hanan Wyatt, Soddy Daisy, Tenn. competes along the sideline for the ball in the Mocs 2-1 loss to Appalachian State last friday..

The Mocs faced off against conference rival Appalachian State on Friday night.

The Mountaineers struck first in the match with a goal at the 34:54 mark of the game off a rebound by Julia Holz from an assist by Jamie Lockie. from then the match was a stale mate with no team really creating an advantage.

The time was winding down in the match until a foul in the box forced a penalty kick from senior Becca Smith, from Murfreesboro, Tenn. Smith came through in the clutch pushing a shot through the bottom left side of the goal pass App St. keeper Lauren Thomas to force overtime.

The overtime was short lived. A goal from App St.’s Samantha Childress on the first shot of overtime settled the match 2-1 in favor of the Mountaineers.

The Mocs were playing shorthanded in the match missing two goalkeepers, Freshman Lauren Pruitt from Chattanooga, and Junior Taylor Mangrum, from Franklin, Tenn., were both out due to injury. Freshmen Lauren Thomas from Germantown, Tenn., was forced to step up and play in goal for the Mocs.

“We have Video exchange with every team in the conference,” Head coach J.D Kyzer said, “everyone knew we were missing keepers so they were just rocket shelling us from outside.”

The Mocs were outshot in the game 19 to six, but only eight of the Appalachian 19 shots were shots on goal while five of the six shots by the Mocs were on goal.

The second match of the weekend was a Sunday matchup against Western Carolina.

The game was scoreless through 86 minutes, during which the WCU played the same strategy as App St. by blasting shots from the outside. Keeper Lauren Thomas did not budge during this time recording seven saves.

In the 87-minute a pass into the box lead to a shot by WCU’s Samantha that hit off the post and lead to a wide-open net goal by Lynn Studnicky.

With only three minutes left in the game there just wasn’t enough time to amount a comeback goal and the Mocs fell 1-0.

With only five games left in the season the Mocs have yet to win a conference game, but coach kyzer says he is happy with his team’s improvement throughout the season.

“Over half the people on the field at one time are freshmen,” said Kyzer, “In a division one game that’s pretty tough in any sport.”

Injuries at the goalkeeper position and youth have plagued the Mocs throughout the season.

Coach Kyzer said, “All these things stack up against you and you got these bricks on your back but we’ve been able to shake a lot of the bricks off we got our Keeper back, we are getting more confident on the field, we are learning more about what to do with the ball on the field, and it’s coming to us.”

but coach Kyzer believes his team is starting to play better soccer lately.

“We are staring to get it now,” said Kyzer, “It started back at Furman, Furman is one of the best teams in the conference, we put together a good half getting up 1-0 at half then kind of fell apart in the second, but we are starting to learn how to put together a game.”

The Mocs take on more conference foes College of Charleston of Charleston and the Citadel next weekend, two games coach Kyzer believes they can win.

“It’s very even across the board,” said coach Kyzer about the SOCON, ‘even the team in first place is winning good games by a goal, so I believe we can win any game.”

Both games will be on the road in Charleston South Carolina, for more information visit gomocs.com.

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