LITTLE ROCK – UALR scored first, but visiting Georgia State got the next three in a 3-1 victory over the Trojans soccer team at the Coleman Sports & Recreation Complex on Friday night.
UALR (4-11, 1-5 Sun Belt Conference) scored less than a quarter of an hour into the game off the foot of freshman Mikayla Uyokpeyi, but the Panthers (5-8-1, 3-3) stormed back to take a 2-1 lead at half time and added the backbreaker just 22 seconds into the second half.
Junior goalie Kylie Wilson had another highlight of the game for UALR when she saved a first-half penalty kick to keep the Trojans in the lead temporarily, and she finished with five total saves. She has made at least five saves in the last four consecutive games.
With two games left to play, the Trojans remain in the eighth seed in the Sun Belt with their tournament destiny still in their own hands. Winless ULM was off Friday night and still has three games to play, but the Trojans hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Warhawks for the eight and final spot in the Sun Belt Tournament.
On Friday night, the Trojans struck first in the 13th minute when Uyokpeyi found herself in the right place at the right time. Junior Betsy Blackwood made a run on the left side, nearly reaching the end line before feeding the ball into the six-yard box. Ariel Galletti was there for a shot, but Georgia State goalkeeper Brie Haynes made the initial save. The rebound bounced to Uyokpeyi who nudged the ball toward the net. It bounced off a Georgia State played before heading into the back of the net. The goal was the first of Uyokpeyi’s career and came exactly one week after her third career assist at Louisiana.
The momentum stayed with the Trojans for the next 20 minutes. Wilson made the crowd go wild in the 27th minute, saving a Panthers penalty kick by Alyssia Feronti. The Trojans committed a foul on the corner of the penalty area, resulting in the referee pointing to the penalty spot for a Georgia State kick. Feronti went to Wilson’s left, and the junior goalie stuck out her left hand and got enough of the ball to bounce it off the post and send it back out into play.
The Panthers would not stay off the board for much longer. In the 34th minute, another UALR foul set Georgia State up with a free kick just outside the penalty box on the left side. Lauren Harriman took the shot, finding Ashley Nagy for the deflection past Wilson.
Nagy found twine again nine minutes later, taking a long ball from midfield by Whitney Ravan and breaking away from the UALR defense. She entered the penalty box on the right side and beat Wilson to the left to hand the Panthers a lead heading into halftime.
Just 22 seconds into the second half, the Panthers got their third goal. Harriman was the scorer this time, taking a shot from the top of the 18-yard box to increase the visitors’ lead to two.
Georgia State buckled down defensively at that point and only allowed a single shot on goal by UALR for the rest of the contest. Ashley Barksdale had that attempt, but Haynes was there for the save.
UALR finishes its home schedule on Sunday when conference-leading Western Kentucky comes to the Coleman Sports & Recreation Complex. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.