RADFORD, Va. – With 10 minutes to play, Samantha Kron (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) sent in a corner that found Jenna Caudle (Middletown, Md.) on the far post for what proved to be the game-winning goal, as ETSU defeated Radford, 1-0, on Sunday night inside Patrick D. Cupp Memorial Stadium.
Senior goalkeeper Caitlin Gaughan (Indianapolis, Ind.) recorded her first shutout, saving four shots, en route to ETSU’s first win of the season.
“I thought every single player was magnificent tonight,” said head coach Adam Sayers. “We executed the game plan perfectly and when we lost possession we regrouped behind the ball very quickly. When we won the ball back, we transitioned efficiently the other way and were able to create a number of chances. It was a total team effort.”
ETSU (1-2-0) created chances early, putting forth an impressive defensive effort from the first whistle. The Bucs thoroughly tested the Radford defense off multiple attacks in the early stages, with a corner in the first five minutes, followed by shots from Jasmin Dutton (Kimmel Bay, North Wales) and Caudle. It took Radford 25 minutes to develop a chance at the ETSU goal, but the Highlander’s attempt from Julie Ruh’e was blocked by the Bucs defense before it sniffed the net.
“The attitude and the mental approach of our team right from the start were outstanding,” said Sayers. “There was a clear hunger and desire to win their individual battles, and that coincided with winning the collective battle.”
The Highlanders (2-2-0) would trade chances with ETSU through the remainder of the first half, matching each other, 6-6, in shots with Radford holding a slim, 2-1, edge in corners.
Starting the second half, Radford came out firing. The reigning co-regular season Big South champions tested Gaughan’s reactions just one minute into the period, but the senior keeper was up to the challenge, saving the attempt and defending her post as Radford pelted two more shots and a corner through the half’s opening 11 minutes.
Senior Genna Petersen (Loveland, Ohio) began the Bucs’ attack in the second half, firing a shot that set into motion multiple ETSU chances. A few minutes following Petersen’s threat, Tori Head (Kingsport, Tenn.) blasted a shot that had to be saved by Radford’s Lisa Lubke before Dutton added a threat of her own off ETSU’s second corner of the contest.
“Genna Petersen played very well tonight,” said Sayers. “She was tirelessly working back on defense and was also a catalyst for a lot of our attacks. Offensively and defensively she was excellent throughout the match.”
With less than 12 minutes to play, Kron setup for a free kick from just outside the left half of the 18 yard box and had her attempt deflected over the goal line. Taking her third corner of the half, Kron sent a ball in that sailed over the Highlander defense and collided with the leg of Caudle on the far post. Caudle’s shot came back across Lubke and settled in the near post to give ETSU the lead and eventual victory.
The Highlanders desperately pushed players forward through the final 10 minutes, but all of their chances were denied as Gaughan’s spectacular effort proved to be too much.
“Caitlin was absolutely magnificent tonight,” said Sayers. “She was composed and calm in every situation, making some great saves, and is completely deserving of the shutout. Defensively, the entire team did well tonight.”
The ETSU Buccaneer women’s soccer team will return home for its next contest on Friday, September 2, against Longwood at 4 p.m.