MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - The first Bobcat Shootout women's soccer tournament wrapped up today (Sept. 6), with No. 12 Armstrong Atlantic State University (3-1) beating Catawba College (1-1-1) 3-1 and Florida Tech (2-1) tackling host Georgia College & State University (2-2) 3-0 at Bobcat Field.
In the first game, Erin O'Rourke broke a scoreless tie just over 32 minutes into the contest by taking a ricochet off the post from a Kristin Burton shot and firing it past Catawba netminder Chelsea Binder. In an exciting exchange, Catawba knotted the score with just 25 seconds left before the half, when Kaitlyn McFarland scored off assists from Merritt Rollins and Kristen Girardi.
The Pirates controlled the second stanza, as reigning Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Player of the Year Burton scored twice, once in the 47th minute off a pass from Emily Cattanach and Morgan Mitchell, and again in the 56th minute from a Lianne Stricklen pass.
AASU's Tracey Mitchell made five saves on six tries in the win. Twenty-six total shots were taken in the contest, with the Pirates holding a slim 14-12 lead.
In game two, the Panthers wasted little time putting numbers on the board, as the speedy Kelly Whittaker scored just 3:34 into the contest. Christina Edwards found the freshman on the play. Nearly 20 minutes later, Teresa Brantley found an open Alyssa Esposito for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Whittaker tacked on her second goal of the day off a pass from Megan Stone in the 90th minute to put the match out of reach. Panther goalkeeper Melissa Pyles didn't make a save, but thwarted plenty of cross passes and stopped a few more Bobcat scoring opportunities before they started. The Bobcats were out-shot 12-6, but played the game tighter in the second half, just a 7-5 deficit.
"We battled much better in the second half and really hung with a good team," said GCSU head coach Juan Pablo Favero. "We need to play like that for the full 90 minutes in order to have success."
The tournament also marks the first NCAA competition using Little Feet soccer balls. A program beginning in March of 2006, Little Feet is a grassroots organization sending soccer balls to underprivileged kids across the globe. For each ball purchased through the organization, Little Feet donates a ball to a needy child to promote the game of soccer worldwide.
With the conclusion of the tournament, the All-Tournament Team was also announced. The 11-member team featured five Florida Tech players, two from Catawba, two from Armstrong Atlantic and two from Georgia College.
Florida Tech: goalkeeper Melissa Pyles, midfielders Sara Lewis and Deedee Newland, and forwards Kelly Whittaker and Megan Stone.
Catawba: midfielders Maria Borland and Stephanie Borland.
Armstrong Atlantic: forwards Kristin Burton and Kristina Pascutti.
Georgia College: midfielder Ally Treat and forward Kara Teresi.
The Bobcats are back in action Friday, Sept. 11 at 8:30 p.m. hosting Lincoln Memorial University as part of the Little Feet Invitational Tournament. The day's action starts with Tusculum College against Southern New Hampshire University at 4 p.m., followed by a Carson-Newman College/Lynn University matchup at 6:15 p.m. After the Bobcat's match with LMU will be the "Bobcat Blastoff" fireworks show at Bobcat Field.
The GCSU Department of Athletics, winners of the 2008-09 PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Georgia College prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.