Aug. 24, 2014 — Early cloud cover gave way to a humid afternoon as the Lady Lions of Bryan College took on the Toccoa Falls College Eagles in their 2014 Season Opener.
The game started well for the Lions as they controlled the ball through the midfield and were able to earn a corner just 1:50 into the game. Off the corner kick, the Toccoa Defenders cleared the ball but it fell to the feet of Kristin Bryant (JR/Indialantic, Fla.) who played the ball to Jenn Fortmiller, she played the ball to her right foot and she ripped the shot right at Toccoa keeper, Emily Truelove. Truelove was able to deflect the shot but Bryan Senior Forward Emily Lambert (SR/Morristown, Tenn.) was waiting at the top of the 6-yard box and she slotted the ball past two defenders into the back of the net, giving Bryan a 1-0 lead just two minutes into their season.
The Lion midfield of Fortmiller, Bryant and junior Alex Kuh (JR/Vero Beach, Fla.), continued to pressure the Eagles who didn’t have an answer for the early pressure. Following two more good looks on target by Hannah Mizoguichi and Shannon Mollenhauer (SR/Lake Worth, Fla.), Emily Lambert was again involved in creating another chance for the Lions as Elizabeth Cawthorne (FR/Orlando, Fla.) was waiting to clean-up Lambert’s shot when the ball found Cawthorne’s foot and then quickly found the net.
Toccoa was not to be counted out however, as they fought back on a sharp counter attack down the far side, and Eagle mid-fielder, Olivia Stands, was able to hit a low cross into the box. Bryan keeper, Ariel Greene mishandled the cross and as the ball bounced away from Greene, Toccoa forward, Lizz Rice was waiting in front of an open net. She kicked the ball past a diving Greene to pull the Eagles within 1.
It didn’t take long for Bryan to seek an answer as Mizoguichi again found room in front of the Toccoa net, missing a shot just high off the crossbar. Two subs by Coach Sauve created a lot of energy late in the half, as midfielder Shelby Julian (JR/Knoxville, Tenn.) and forward Sara Catherine Baker continued to keep the pressure on the Toccoa Defense. Baker was able to find the net for a third Bryan goal just before half time to give the Lions a 3-1 advantage at the end of the first period.
The hot temperatures only made the Lions hotter as they came out in the second half roaring. Baker, who remained on the pitch after finishing the first half, was able to center a cross to a streaking Mollenhauer who found the back of the net just 3:10 into the second half. The Lions quickly tried to add to their lead as Lambert and Mollenhauer were able to threaten with shots just off frame in the next several minutes.
Once again, Toccoa showed some fight as they were able to play a ball forward on a counter-attack, finding the feet of Gabrielle Ellis, who touched the ball just by the feet of a sliding Cawthorne to pull the Eagles within 2.
Not to be outdone, the Lions continued the pressure, pouring pass after pass into Toccoa’s 18-yard box. The shots kept Toccoa on the defensive and eventually wore them down as Bryant creatively found Mollenhauer on the near side of the box. Mollenhauer deftly touched the ball back to the middle of the 18, where she ripped a shot by a frozen keeper to net Bryan’s 5th goal of the afternoon.
Coach Sauve was proud of the way his girls played, “We put forth a lot of energy and we used the space they gave us to create good looks at the target. Our discipline and communication were key tonight and we did what we needed to do. I thought we looked good and I am excited about the road ahead.”
The Lady Lions head on the road for their next contest as they travel to Suwannee, Tennessee to play the University of the South this coming Friday.