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Panthers Stave Off Scottie Comeback Bid

Panthers Stave Off Scottie Comeback Bid

DECATUR, Ga.—Birmingham Southern won a wild game of momentum to upend the Agnes Scott Scotties in non-conference women's soccer action on Wednesday at Gellerstedt Field. The Panthers used early goals from sophomore Sydney Barrow (Hoover, Ala.) to grab a 2-0 lead and held off a mid-game charge from the Scotties before landing on a 3-1 victory.

The Panthers keep their unbeaten start to the season alive at 2-0, while Agnes Scott dips to 0-2-1 to begin the season.

Birmingham Southern owned possession over the first 25 minutes of regulation and kept the ball in pressure spots for much of that period. The Panthers nearly scored 28 seconds into the contest, but the ball just sailed wide on the left. The visitors finally broke through the veil in the 16th minute when Barrow connected on a one-timer off a threaded pass from Abby Kay Choate (Tifton, Ga.).

The pair connected again 10 minutes later when Choate lofted in a ball from the midfield, catching the Agnes defense off guard in transition. Barrow only had the keeper to beat and slid a ball under the reach of Abby Ackerson (Hoover, Ala.) to the near side.

A 2-0 deficit seemed to kick the Scotties into gear. After a fairly quiet opening 20 minutes, Agnes' offense began to open up due to some connections in the midfield. First-year Skye Svehlak (Huntsville, Ala.) was at the center of most the pressure for the Scotties and it was no coincidence she cut the lead in half with a beautiful run up the middle. Zoey Perchaluk (Fort Erie, Ont.) caught Svehlak in stride from 25 yards out and the first-year midfielder beat her mark easily before powering a shot past the approaching keeper.

The momentum stayed on Agnes Scott's side for the next 30 minutes of gameplay, bleeding into the second half. The Scotties nearly tied it when junior Nia Coates (Pooler, Ga.) got behind the Panther defensive line and finessed a shot by Blakley Jones (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), but it got pushed just wide of the mark to the left.

Jones continued to get peppered by the Scotties in the second half while trying to keep the lead in her team's favor. Perchaluk tested the sophomore net minder in the 51st minute, but Jones made a nice stop to keep the things at 2-1.

Despite playing on its heels for a lengthy period, Birmingham Southern was able to break a possibly inevitable tiebreaking moment by scoring a goal of its own. A foul near the midfield marker led to a free kick for sophomore Kendall Maynard (Birmingham, Ala.). Maynard, a key reserve for the Panthers, placed a perfect ball into the 18-yard box that allowed senior forward Taylor Andrews (Watkinsville, Ga.) to take a quick touch and pummel it into the net before the Scotties could react.

The Scotties had their moments to make things interesting over the final 35 minutes of action, but could not finish off another opportunity to put pressure on the Panthers.

Both teams put eight shots on frame with Jones coming up with seven stops for the Panthers in the winning effort. Ackerson made five saves, including a pair of point-blank shots to keep the Scotties from going down by three.

Agnes Scott heads up to Piedmont this weekend for a two-day tournament that'll include games with Emory & Henry and USA South East Division opponent, Averett. Both games start at noon on Saturday and Sunday.