Austin Peay Govs win first match in Kolarova’s coaching debut
APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University women’s soccer opened its season with a 1-0 victory over in-state opponent Middle Tennessee, Friday, at Morgan Brothers Soccer Field.
The match marked the first official win in new head coach Naomi Kolarova‘s career in her first attempt.
Austin Peay Women’s Soccer gets 1-0 home win over Middle Tennessee Friday night. (APSU Sports Information)
Both teams battled for control of the midfield early on, as no real chances occurred in the opening portion of the match.
MTSU had two corner kicks in the first ten minutes, but both were cleared away by the Govs.
APSU’s first action offensively came through Claire Larose, who put a shot wide of the net. Senior midfielder Katie Costantino dropped the Govs’ first corner of the night into a dangerous area a few minutes later, with the ball up for grabs inside the six-yard box, but MTSU scrambled to get it away.
The Govs started to gain more and more control of the match as Larose hit another shot that went wide and Morgan Drawdy struck a free kick from the left wing that nearly curled in and caught the Blue Raider goalkeeper off guard.
Eventually, the perseverance from the Govs paid off as Costantino sent in another delicious ball from a corner that bounced off the shoulder of a MTSU player and sat up nicely for Jennifer Smith to sweetly volley the ball high into the net for a deserved lead in the 28th minute.
The Govs did not stop after the goal, as Goodwin Brown forced a save from the MTSU goalie shortly before halftime.
The Blue Raiders came out firing in the second half, pressing higher up the pitch and keeping the ball on the Govs’ side of the field. MTSU could still not carve out great opportunities though, as the Govs defense still held on strong.
Goalkeeper Mary Parker Powell had not seen a lot of dangerous action in the match, but remained alert to make a brilliant double save in the 68th minute. A shot from outside the box bounced right in front of her as she dove to her right, making the save awkward.
Powell spilled the ball just a little bit, but recovered in time to deny an onrushing MTSU player from an open net.
MTSU created many attacks down the left side of the field in the second half, but the Govs thwarted them time after time. Kolarova went to her bench more in the second half for fresh legs to help defend the slim 1-0 lead and it paid off, as the final whistle blew and the Govs started out the season with a great result.
The Govs return to action, 5:00pm, Sunday, with a road contest against Evansville.
- The match marked Naomi Kolarova‘s first win as Govs head coach
- The Govs have now won three straight home openers
- Austin Peay extended its unbeaten streak at home to 17 matches, dating back to 2016
- Mary Parker Powell earned her fifth career shutout, moving into sixth all-time in that category
- Jennifer Smith’s goal means she has scored at least one goal in each of her four seasons as a Gov
- The Govs have now won two straight matches against Middle Tennessee
Naomi Kolarova’s Thoughts
On the first half:
“I thought we played really well in the first half. We were winning 50-50 balls, we were playing sharp, linking passes, and going forward well. We still had a couple areas we wanted to improve on, but overall we did really well in the first half.”
On the second half:
“I think we were starting to get beat to the ball a lot more in the second half. We allowed them to have so many more opportunities. However, they changed their style of play and played a lot more direct and kind of came at us and we didn’t match that intensity. In the middle of the park and in the back, we gave the ball away too much and they were able to counter-attack.”
On the match overall:
“Ultimately, we got a win, so I’m happy. That’s why we are out here. The girls played and worked extremely hard and deserved to get the win I think. We were a little lucky to keep the win in the end, but tomorrow we have to work on a few things and get ready for Sunday. We are taking things one game at a time and look to get better every day.”