Soccer sets attendance record, but falls 2-1 against South Alabama

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Scott McLendon

Staff Writer

The Troy soccer team fell at the hands of South Alabama 2-1 on Friday, Sept. 25, in front of a record crowd of 1,365 fans.

It was the second time this season that the attendance record has been broken at the Troy Soccer Complex.

South Alabama (7-3-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) got off to a quick start with a goal in the fourth minute, when sophomore midfielder Chelsea Followwell’s shot hit the back of the net.  The Jaguars secured a controlling lead a half-hour later, as defender Steffi Hardy scored on a corner, making the score 2-0.

The visitors enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half. The Jaguars also looked more threatening in front of goal than the Trojans (7-3, 0-1 Sun Belt).

“South came out and they were the better team in the first half and we gave them a two-goal lead,” said second-year head coach Jason Hamilton. “It doesn’t matter how you play after that, you’re not going to be able to win games. I was extremely proud of the way we played the second half. It was completely opposite from the first half where they were the aggressors.”

The Trojans looked like a different team in the second half. The home team saw much more possession, especially in dangerous areas of the Jaguar defense.

“The first half, South was winning every first ball and every second ball because we weren’t competing enough physically,” Hamilton said. “That’s exactly what changed in the second half. We started winning the first ball, and when we won the second ball, we were able to run at them and look dangerous.”

The Trojans committed 19 fouls, and the Jaguars were only five short of matching the home side.

The Trojan defense tightened up as the game wore on. Sophomore goalkeeper Mikki Lewis had five saves and improved her block percentage in the second half.

“South didn’t have much created on the offensive side of things in the second half,” Hamilton said. “We made some adjustments, and we battled more physically in the last half.”

The Trojans gave the home crowd a glimmer of hope in the second half when senior forward Kristen Rendall scored on a free kick from 42 yards.

Despite the second half turnaround, the Trojans were outshot 15-5. Seven of South’s shots were on target, but only three Trojan shots fell in the same category.

“The level we played at in the second half is where the standard has to be,” said Coach Hamilton. “If we can play like that for 90 minutes, we’ll be in good shape.”

The Trojans’ next game is at ULM (6-6-1, 0-2 Sun Belt) on Friday, Oct. 2. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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