Sanzsole Converts in Extra Time, Spartans Kink Blue Hose
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Just when it looked like the Spartans would coast to a double overtime tie with Presbyterian, junior transfer Rebecca Sanzsole came through with a golden goal game-winner in the 104th minute to snap a seven game losing streak for the Spartans Sunday evening at County University Stadium.
The victory puts Upstate (2-7) back in the win column for the first time since its season opener, while the Blue Hose (0-7) continues to struggle as they remain winless on the year.
"I'm excited; we have been working for this the past five weeks," head coach Abby Minihan said. "We have continued to make progress each game and this is the culmination of all that work."
Sanzsole's only shot of the contest proved to be the difference as she lined up from 35 yards out and drilled a shot that Presbyterian keeper Jordan Broadway tipped but was unable to keep out of the net, sending the Spartans into celebration and giving Upstate its second victory of the season.
"Beccy is really good at ball placement and seeing those opportunities," Minihan said. "I think she saw the keeper off her line a bit and she can serve the ball so she just put it over the top."
The chance for Sanzsole to convert the game-winner came in large part to Upstate freshman goalkeeper Ellen Bright who made her collegiate debut and did so in style, recording nine saves and picking up the shutout. Bright converted three saves in the first half, four more in the second period and one in each overtime stint to keep the Blue Hose out of the net.
"We have been working really hard in practice so I am pleased that we came out and put it all together tonight.
One of the best scoring chanced of regulation for the Spartans came off the foot of forward Michelle Calmeyn who eluded a defender, cut back to the middle and fired a bender to the far past, but Broadway dove to her left and deflected the attempt just enough to rob Calmeyn in the 76th minute.
Presbyterian had its golden chance just two minutes earlier when Bright misplayed a ball at the top of the box and Catie Smith fired a shot toward an empty net, but a Spartan defender came racing in to make a sliding save and keep the Blue Hose off the board.
The Spartans continue to shine in overtime games, posting a 2-0 record in double overtime as Tamaya Tompoe gave the Spartans a season-opening win at VMI in the 107th minute.
The win for the Spartans also marked their first home win of the 2012 campaign.
Upstate will now turn its attention to the Atlantic Sun Portion of the schedule and next Friday's showdown with league-leading Florida Gulf Coast.
"This win could not have come at a better time," Minihan said. "I think it will be a great test for us to start A-Sun play with Florida Gulf Coast, which is one of the best teams in the conference."
Kickoff against the Eagles next Friday is set for 5 p.m. at County University Stadium.