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Govs move back to .500 in conference play

APSU Athletics Communications

By Dylan Schwartz

APSU Athletics Communications

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn.  – Austin Peay earned an important Ohio Valley Conference win by routing Jacksonville State, 4-1, Friday, at Morgan Brothers Soccer Field.

Head coach Naomi Kolarova only made one change in the lineup, but there were multiple Govs who made a switch into different positions. McKenzie Dixon moved into the center of defense, while Caroline Wistrom took Dixon’s spot up top. Jade Dauriat and Katie Costantino, generally central midfielders, made the transition to left and right back, respectively. The overhaul for the Govs (7-4-1, 2-2-1 OVC) continued as Renee Semaan and Abby Therrell each stepped into midfield as well.

The Govs got on the front foot immediately with Wistrom playing Claire Larose through on goal, but JSU keeper Morgan Lerch made a good stop to deny Larose. Larose had another good chance a few minutes later, as she attempted to curl the ball to the far post, but it went wide.

Fortunately, the Govs did not have to wait long after for the breakthrough, as Wistrom once again played provider for Larose, who this time made sure she it counted as she slotted the ball near-post past Lerch for a 1-0 Govs lead in the 17th minute.

Halftime came and went with the Govs ahead 1-0 and action quickly came about again. A Gamecock player looked to be through 1v1, but Shelby Stewart raced back from her midfield position to put in a last-ditch, crunching tackle that kept the Govs in the lead.

Possibly inspired by Stewart’s defensive work, the Govs went back on the front foot. Larose played a ball through to Wistrom who was through on goal, but Lerch once again made a good save. After a couple more shots and corners, the Govs could sense a second goal was coming. In the 59th minute, Wistrom delivered the goods as she picked up a deflected ball at the top of the penalty box and rocketed the ball into the far corner to double the Govs lead.

It looked like the Govs had tamed the Gamecocks (3-6-2, 1-2 OVC), but the Gamecocks made it interesting. After a couple warning signs right after Wistrom’s goal, JSU’s Emma Meadows hit a high-arching shot from outside the box that found the top corner of the net in the 64th minute.

The Govs did not put their heads down though as just five minutes later Wistrom rewarded her coach’s decision to start her up top as she scored her second. Larose played a defense-splitting pass to Katie Kenward, who crossed in a scintillating ball that served up Wistrom on a platter, who easily finished into the roof of the net to restore the two-goal cushion.

The Govs were not done with their offensive explosion, as just three minutes and 50 seconds later the Govs had another. After a corner by Dauriat, the Gamecock defense could not clear and Larose controlled the ball on the right side of the box and unleashed a flawless left-footed strike that bent into the far corner. Larose’s second proved to be the dagger, as the Govs were able to shutdown JSU for the remainder of the match and claim their second OVC win of the year.

The Govs return to action next Friday, with another home match against Eastern Kentucky.

Notably

  • Larose scored her sixth and seventh goals of the season, which leads the team and the conference as of press time
  • Larose now has ten career goals, making her the 14th player in program history to score at least ten in a career
  • Wistrom scored her first goal since the 2014 season and had her first multi-goal game as a Gov
  • Wistrom’s five points (two goals, one assist) are the most for a Gov in a game this season
  • Kenward now leads the Govs with three assists on the season
  • Mary Parker Powell claimed her 15th career victory, tied for fourth all-time
  • The four goals are tied for the most goals the Govs have scored this season (four against Alabama A&M)
  • The Govs scored four goals for the first time in conference play since a 4-3 win at UT Martin on Sept. 30, 2016
  • The Govs extended their program record unbeaten streaks at home (15 straight conference matches unbeaten, 22 overall matches unbeaten)

Kolarova’s Thoughts

On the changes in the lineup:

“We threw some players in different positions this week in training to focus on keeping the ball and possessing out of the back. We put Caroline up top to see if she could hold the ball up for us and she did a great job of it. She was a defender up until this point so for her to score two goals is just awesome. Just moving some players around enabled us to be able to possess and move the ball around and that’s what we wanted to do and we were successful at it.”

On the match overall:

“We created more opportunities, didn’t waste shots as much, and we took more shots inside the box, which I emphasized. I’m just really proud of the girls for the way they worked. They (Jacksonville State) got a goal back and it became a dangerous game again. At 2-1 with 30 minutes left, there’s so much that can happen. But we kept pressing and fighting and stuck to our game plan and it worked out, as we were able to get a couple more and get some girls some more game time, so I’m pumped.”