Women rout Big South opener

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by Will Beverina

Defending Big South Freshman of the week Nelia Perez notched a goal and an assist while four other Highlanders (3-4) scored in the women’s soccer team’s 5-2 rout of Winthrop (3-6) on Saturday.

It was Perez’s first multi-point game of her Radford career, as the freshman defender opened up the match in the 15th minute with a slicing run through the Eagles defense and sent a centering pass to Jasmine Casarez at the six-yard box. All Winthrop goalkeeper Karly Gustafson could do was watch as Casarez buried her third goal of the season into an open net at the back post.

Perez didn’t take long after to get her own name in the goal column. Just seven minutes after her assist, she took a pass from the right corner of the 18-yard box and ripped a shot into the upper left corner of the net to put Radford up 2-0 after 22 minutes.

The Highlanders only piled on to the miseries of their hosts when Nicole Ray collected the first goal of her collegiate career. The freshman midfielder collected a pass from Abby Gardner up the left side and slammed home a shot into the near-side corner in the 34th minute.

Radford would take a break from scoring until the second half, when Jessica Wollman slotted home a low-roller into the left side of the net from the top of the box in the 62nd minute. The goal was Wollman’s second of the year.

It was shortly after that the Highlanders finally ended their scoring. Senior defender Miranda Carlson beat Gustafson to the ball off a Hannah Duff free kick and netted her first goal of the season, giving Radford a 5-0 lead in the 66th minute.

The Eagles were finally able to get themselves on the score sheet in the 80th minute after Keely Leising scored her fourth goal of the season, and then again in the 90th minute when Greta Conboy was able to score her second goal of the season. The late surge by Winthrop was the last scoring of the game, and Radford came out with a 5-2 road victory to open up Big South play.

The Highlanders held a 14-9 shot advantage during the game, including 12 attempts on frame to Winthrop’s five. Radford freshman goalkeeper Courtenay Kaplan came up with three saves on the day. It was her seventh start of the season, and her saves total is now up to 29 this year. She has a 1.34 goals against average.

The Highlanders conclude their three-game road trip with a matchup against Big South foes UNC Asheville on Sept. 28. Kickoff from Asheville, N.C. is at 7 p.m. The Highlanders return home on Saturday, Oct. 1, where they will face off against Charleston Southern. You can catch them at Cupp Stadium starting at 1 p.m.