ROCK HILL, S.C. - Georgia Southern logged numerous chances in the 2011 season opener, but two Winthrop goals in the closing minutes of the first half ultimately lifted the Big South Conference foe to a 3-1 win over the Eagles on Friday night (August 19th). Georgia Southern (0-1) cut a two-goal Winthrop (1-0) lead in half just before halftime, but a late goal by the hosts dealt Eagle Head Coach Lindsey Vanderspiegel her first loss in charge of the Eagles.
Two chances for the Georgia Southern went for naught in the 25th and 27th minutes on very similar plays. Courtney Collins (Mason, Ohio) got behind the Eagle defense on a high through ball to the far post but saw her shot saved by the Winthrop goalkeeper. Two minutes later, Alex Murphy (Cincinnati, Ohio) duplicated the play, taking a shot that slid past the goalkeeper and wide of the post.
Winthrop's Kelly Clark, however, put the hosts on top in the 43rd minute with a header off an Ashley Herndon cross into the box. The Eagles doubled their lead just 59 seconds later with a goal on a header by Tori Davis to put Winthrop up, 2-0.
Georgia Southern responded straight-away with a goal in the final minute of the first half by Murphy. The sophomore got into a one-on-one situation with the Winthrop center back that blocked Murphy's initial shot. The Eagle attacker stayed with the play and finished past the Winthrop goalkeeper to cut the advantage to 2-1 going into halftime.
Sophomore Georgia Southern goalkeeper Katie Merson (Albuquerque, N.M.) finished the first half with three saves and was called upon to make her fourth in spectacular fashion just two minutes into the second half. She finished the night with five saves.
Winthrop took a two goal lead in the 82nd minute when Courtney Durbin scored by getting behind the Eagle defense off a through ball by Rachel Webster.
The Eagles pushed forward after conceding the goal with shots by Murphy and McKenna Storey (Medford, Ore.) in the 83rd minute of play. Freshman Sydnie Van Curen (Rincon, Ga.) logged a shot in the 89th minute, but the Eagles could not score in the waning minutes and fell, 3-1, at the final whistle.
Overall, Georgia Southern took 10 shots with five on target while Winthrop posted 18 shots with eight on frame. The visitors had eight corner kicks to Winthrop's five.
Georgia Southern returns home on Thursday, August 25th for the 2011 home opener against Mercer at Eagle Field. The match starts at 4 p.m. and can be seen live on Eagle Vision.Fans can follow their Eagles at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com or receive short updates at facebook.com/GSAthletics, twitter.com/GSAthletics or on Google+ at gplus.to/GSAthletics.