Sept. 25, 2009
Cullowhee, N.C. - The Catamount women's soccer team scored a pair of unassisted goals in the 2-0 shutout of Davidson in front of 415 fans at the Catamount Athletic Complex on Friday evening.
The victory gave Western Carolina (4-3-2, 1-0-0 SoCon) their sixth consecutive win at home, dating back to last season. The win was also the first time in school history that the Catamounts had won back-to-back Southern Conference season openers. Last year, WCU dominated The Citadel in a 6-0 contest.
The loss was the first time Davidson (3-7-0, 0-1-0, SoCon) had been shut out by the Catamounts since a 2-0 victory at the Catamount Athletic Complex in 2005.
Senior's Bri Cunningham and Jenny Matteson tallied their first goals of the season on a wet surface.
The first half was a back and forth contest, as Davidson narrowly held the shot advantage after one half of play, 5-4. Both of the Catamounts goals came in the second half after WCU made a strong offensive push in the first 11 minutes.
"I thought the second half was much different for us," said Catamounts coach Tammy DeCesare. "It was back and forth. No one really took ownership until the second half. I was really pleased that our team took ownership of the second half and set a tone and a pace for (Davidson) to try and handle."
Cunningham used her athletic skills from 20 yards out to place a perfect spin on the ball to hit the top right cross bar before falling into the net for the unassisted tally at the 49th minute. The goal was Cunnigham's 13th career-goal which ties her for 10th with Morgan Foresman (1999-2002) on the WCU all-time career ledger.
"Bri's goal is just an individual effort," said DeCesare. "I was proud of her for taking that chance. She made the most of her opportunity."
Roughly six minutes later, Matteson, a defender from Cinnaminson, N.J., scored her third career goal after launching the spinning ball from 50 yards away. The ball skipped out of Davidson goalkeeper, Jessie Baxa's hands before it landed in between the pipes.
Davidson played a strong possession-style pace of game, but the Catamounts used a stout defensive effort.
Western Carolina junior goalkeeper Caitlin Williams extended her shutout streak to a season-high 297 minutes, while also tying Alesha Row (2003-2006) for number one in the WCU all-time career shutouts list. Williams, a Liberty S.C. native, notched eight saves Friday evening to record her 18th shutout.
Coach DeCesare says she hopes the Catamounts can keep up their second half momentum, "I am very pleased the way we started off Southern Conference play."
"We are going to have to continue to do like we did in the second half for 90 minutes in every game if we want to play in the SoCon tournament and be one of the top teams."
Sunday afternoon's match with Georgia Southern will kick off at 2:00 p.m. When the Catamounts score their first goal in the match, the first 200 fans will receive a free t-shirt.
Live stats of Sunday's contest can be accessed online at CatamountSports.com.