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This time, on homecoming, the Barton College women’s soccer team declined to tempt its fate deep into an overtime period.
The close of regulation during Saturday’s regular-season home finale with Lees-McRae College saw the Lady Bulldogs in a familiar position — in a tie game and destined for the start of a 10-minute extra session.
Before Saturday, Barton owned a dubious 1-3-1 mark in overtime affairs this season.
But much as she did at the outset of the match against the Bobcats, senior Jordyn Brown found herself in position to grind out a well-earned win for the Lady Bulldogs and keep them on pace for the eighth and final spot in the Conference Carolinas tournament.
After getting a rebound goal just 17 seconds into the match, Brown, a transfer by way of Young Harris College, did the same at the outset of overtime. She traced a shot from sophomore Hannah Beard that deflected off Lees-McRae keeper Alexis Feely and off the crossbar.
With no Bobcat in the vicinity, Brown ran onto the carom and tapped it in, getting her third goal of the season and lifting Barton to a crucial 2-1 Conference Carolinas victory by way of the golden goal at Barton Outdoor Athletic Complex.
Barton, battling the University of Mount Olive and King University for the No. 8 position, improved to 7-6-1 overall and 3-5-1 in conference play. Lees-McRae fell to 2-7 in Conference Carolinas affairs and 2-12 in all matches.
The Lady Bulldogs’ destiny will be determined versus those very teams this week on the road, with trips to UMO on Tuesday and King on Friday.
“We’ve had a lot of matches here recently where we’ve held control of play and had shots and opportunities,” Barton head coach Thomas Goines said. “I think today was a nice, big sigh of relief to ‘alright, the sixth time, I think we can get this one.’ So it was a nice result against a team that really scrapped and fought hard against us.”
Indeed, Barton had the better of play in each half, outshooting the Bobcats 31-5 and cranking seven unsuccessful corner kicks to none for Lees-McRae. However, nothing was settled until Brown’s second tally in the 91st minute.
She put the Lady Bulldogs on solid early footing in the opening minute after junior Rebekah Beal sent a shot at Feely. But the Lees-McRae keeper couldn’t handle it cleanly, leaving Brown with the rebound finish.
The Bobcats, who only tallied one shot in the first half, utilized it well to get an equalizer. Pali Smith converted a Barton defensive miscue by gaining control and getting the ball past Barton junior keeper Megan Bolick, who did not make a save in the win.
Despite Barton surrendering a pair of set pieces late in regulation, nothing dangerous came of it from the Bobcats. Thus, Goines gathered his charges before the start of overtime, requesting that Barton take care to possess the ball to kick off the extra period.
But Brown’s quick thinking shut down any extended side-to-side soccer and gave Barton three crucial points in the standings.
“Really this time, it was all in our heart,” Brown said. “We have been beaten down again and again this season, and it really sucks that we’ve lost three times in overtime. So it’s really nice to get a win this time. It was our heart. We really wanted it.”
Bulldogs fall to Bobcats 4-2
Entering the week with aspirations of challenging for the top of the table in Conference Carolinas, Barton was dealt a Senior Day loss Saturday that has it spiraling towards a mid-pack seeding following a 4-2 loss to Lees-McRae.
Barton, which lost both of its conference matches this week to Chowan and Lees-McRae, both at home, dropped to 8-4-1 and 4-3-1 in conference play. Lees-McRae logged a sizable result for its own conference tournament prospects, moving to 7-5-2 in all matches, 3-3-2 within Conference Carolinas. Barton is tied for fourth with Emmanuel College with 14 points in the standings as a pair of road matches at Mount Olive and King await to close the regular season. Emmanuel is now eligible for postseason play after completing the NCAA Division II membership process.
In the case of the Bulldogs, Saturday’s match against Lees-McRae quickly got away after halftime. With the match tied at 1, the Bobcats struck for a pair of goals 18 seconds apart in the 52nd minute. First, Pol Vassart directed a cross into the box that was put away by Johannes Oeksnevad.
Quickly after the kickoff, Barton encountered disaster in its defensive third. Vassart, the leading goal scorer in Conference Carolinas, took the ball away from the Barton defense and sent it past Bulldogs junior keeper Francisco Noguera. It was the 14th goal of the year for Vassart.
In the 58th minute, Tolly Beatson, one of five seniors honored by Barton in the pregame, pulled one back on a free kick. That gave the Bulldogs temporary spirit in their play, but Lees-McRae’s Harvey McMorrow picked up control on a breakaway down the left side and sent it past Noguera to notch his second goal of the match.
Barton led in the 26th minute on junior Pol Monells’ seventh goal of the season after he won a scrum for a loose ball in the Bobcats’ penalty area and sent it past Anton Sundstrom. That one-goal lead appeared as if it would stand into halftime, but McMorrow finished from point-blank range following a deflected header with 40 seconds left until halftime. A cross, sent by Anders Stoakes, resulted in the deflection and McMorrow’s hard finish that settled in the side panel.
The Bulldogs were outshot 18-15, with Noguera pressed into six saves.
Beatson, Jacob Baird, Rafael Ribiero, Javier Alcarria and Daniel Gregory played their final regular-season home match for Barton.
Barton ends skid with sweep of Erskine
In the Jeff Lennox era, the Barton College women’s volleyball team hasn’t experienced a lot of losing in league play on its way to back-to-back Conference Carolinas regular season and tournament titles.
So a 25-19, 25-23, 25-22 victory over Erskine in Wilson Gym on Saturday afternoon represented a return to normalcy after the Lady Bulldogs ceded their last two league matches — by 3-0 margins — against King and Emmanuel. It was the first time since the 2015-16 season that Barton (11-13, 7-2 CC) has lost two consecutive conference matches, and the Lady Bulldogs now sit a half game back of Belmont Abbey in the league’s North Division. The Flying Fleet dropped to 6-18 overall, 3-8 in conference action.
Sophomore Kaytlin Elkins had a double-double of 14 kills and 10 assists as Sarah Kirk, a freshman, had 20 assists and nine kills to go along with five digs.
Offensively, junior Kelsey Riquelme and senior Haley Headley had seven kills each, and senior setter Angelica Acevedo finished a dig shy of a double-double with 20 assists and nine digs.
Elkins and senior Allie Cullens had consecutive kills to end the first set. In the second set, Barton held a 23-20 cushion, but the Flying Fleet used a miniature 3-0 run to tie it.
There, Headley put down back-to-back kills for a two-set Barton advantage.
Barton trailed 20-19 in the third set, but regained a 23-21 lead on an Elkins ace. The 13th and 14th kills of the match from Elkins on consecutive points finished off the sweep.
JoJo Taylor’s 11 kills paced Erskine offensively. The Lady Bulldogs outhit Erskine .248-.186, cranking up the attack to .368 in the second set and .303 in the third.
Barton starts a three-match road swing in conference play Tuesday, visiting archrival University of Mount Olive.
Freshmen finish 1st again for BC
HARDEEVILLE, S.C. — Freshman Hailey Russell continued to lead the way for the Barton College women’s cross-country team Saturday at the 12th annual Sand Shark Invitational, finishing 96th in a 293-runner field at Sgt. Jasper Park.
The Lady Bulldogs, who lacked the minimum five runners to qualify for a team score, were also represented by junior Meghan Araldi (117th, 21:15), freshman Morgan Lane (193rd, 22:57), a product of Community Christian School and freshman Taylynn Blunt (249th, 25:44).
SCAD Atlanta, a member of the NAIA Appalachian Athletic Conference, won the team title with a score of 66 in the 34-school field. Emily Kearney of the Bees won the individual race in a time of 17:30.4 on the 5,000-meter course.
In the men’s race, the Bulldogs parlayed their scoring quintet into a 19th-place showing among 33 teams, compiling 535 points.
Freshman Deshawn Owens, a Charles B. Aycock High product, finished 97th in 28:14 to lead the Bulldogs. He was followed by sophomore and Hunt graduate Evan Lee in 101st at 28:20.
Sophomore Alex Kelly (119th, 28:37), freshman Timothy Deore (148th, 29:21) and redshirt freshman Nicholas Leek (154th, 29:28) rounded out Barton scoring performances in a 293-runner field.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University of the Sunshine State Conference won the team event with a score of 58, which was 24 points clear of Florida Southern.
Daniel Kiptoo of Division I Bethune-Cookman won the race in 25:03.9.
Both Barton teams are back in action on Saturday, Nov. 3 in the 2018 Conference Carolinas Championships, to be held at the University of Mount Olive.