The TWC women's soccer team has not had an easy start to open their 2014 season but Coach Clarke knows it will build team chemistry and set the tone for their season's team philosophy of hard work and commitment to each other. They traveled to NAIA nationally ranked #17 Brenau University last weekend and sneaked a surprise 1-1 tie, then yesterday they traveled to play NAIA nationally ranked #8 Cumberland University, coming away with a 3-1 loss.
The Lady Bulldogs unexpectedly took the lead in the first half of the match, but they couldn't hold onto it during the second 45 minutes. Tennessee Wesleyan opened the scoring with a goal from sophomore Amy Panayi in the 12th minute; Panayi pressured and was able to win the ball from Cumberland University's goalkeeper, she then deftly placed it into the back of the net for TWC to take the lead. TWC defended tirelessly the remainder of the half as CUs attack came at them time and time again. Sophomore Cierra Nopen in goal for the Lady Bulldogs recorded six saves to keep the scoreline at 1-0 to TWC going into the halftime break.
Coming out of the break Tennessee Wesleyan knew they would face a determined Cumberland University group, and that proved correct within minutes. In the 47th minute a CU forward hit a shot that was saved by Nopen but deflected back into the penalty area where another CU player knocked it into the back of the net. Then just thirty seconds later, CU earned a penalty kick following a questionable tackle by a TWC defender, they slotted that one away to take the lead 2-1.
Coach Clarke substituted goal keepers just five minutes later as Nopen bumped her head on the goal post after a diving save from a dangerous CU shot. Freshman keeper Taylor Young stepped into the game determined to not let any by her, but five minutes later another CU shot deflected by a TWC defender was picked up by a CU player and slotted into the net. Tennessee Wesleyan had an opportunity to pull one back a few minutes later when a through ball to junior Lexi Dalberth was played right up the heart of the CU defense. Dalberth beat the last defender to get a 1v1 opportunity with the CU keeper but her shot was tipped over the bar by the keeper. The scoreline remained at 3-1 to end the game. CU recorded 25 shots with 13 on target, while TWC had 5 shots with all 5 being on target.
Tennessee Wesleyan moves to 0-1-1 for the season and will next face the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg on Saturday at noon.