Friday, September 19, 2008
KENNESAW, Ga. - In only their second home match of the season, the Kennesaw State soccer team handed the College of Charleston their first loss of the year, 3-0, on Friday night at the KSU Soccer Field.
Coming into the match, the Cougars (7-1-0) were undefeated and had been ranked in the latest Soccer Buzz Magazine Southeast Region Poll for the first time since 2005. The Owls (5-2-2) weren't scared, as they out-shot the Cougars 19-12 and picked up their third shutout of the season.
"We have been working a lot on linking our defenders and midfielders to our forwards," said head coach Rob King. "We wanted to create a lot of scoring chances and we executed that very well tonight."
Lauren Ruffini had the first shot of the game four minutes into play, but it was Charleston who almost scored first on a breakaway by Hope Atkinson. Bridget Gaughan, Jessica Kalonji and the KSU defense held her off and kept the match scoreless.
The Black and Gold had plenty of opportunities to score, out-shooting the Cougars 7-6. In the 34th minute Brittany Vining sent a shot toward the net that was blocked by the Cougar defense. Rebounding the loose ball, Rachel Baer immediately fired another shot that was just shy to the right of the goal.
KSU's final shot of the half came when Vining sent a pass to Baer who sailed a shot toward the net that hit the post and bounced back. Charleston made one final attempt to put either team on the board, but was blocked by Sadjr Williams.
Coming into the second half scoreless, both teams were hungry for a goal. The Owls hunger pains vanished in the 57th minute when Baer sent a cross from the right side to a waiting Kranick who just laid it in to put KSU up 1-0.
"I love playing with Rachel Baer," said Kranick, who scored her second goal of the year. "She really did all the work with her perfect pass; all I had to do was lay it in."
Without lack of effort, the Cougars came close to tying the game after a corner kick from C of C's Kristy Barrow that landed in between several players. Atkinson came up with the shot but it was stopped by Staci Pugh, who had three saves in the match.
The Owls struck again in the 75th minute when Caroline Austin curled a corner kick that landed next to Beth Meadors. Meadors passed it to a waiting Vining who tapped it in to the left side to put KSU up 2-0.
Not even six minutes later, Ruffini gave Kennesaw State the leverage they needed after she broke away from two defenders and sailed a shot past the Cougars' Erin Smith from 15 yards out, giving the Owls a 3-0 advantage.
The Cougars did not give up as they took several more shots in the final minutes, but the Black and Gold defense was too much.
"Tonight's win was a great team effort," said King. "The girls put out a terrific work ethic and had a good finishing."
Vining and Ruffini each picked up their third goals of the year while Kranick tallied her second. Pugh now owns a 3-2-2 record while the Owls move to 5-2-2 on the year.
Kennesaw State returns to action when they begin a two-game road trip to open up A-Sun play. The Owls first take on Florida Gulf Coast at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26 followed by a 2:00 p.m. match against Stetson on Sunday, Sept. 28th.