Western Highlands 1A/2A Conference Draughn: 49 Avery County: 7 Catawba Valley Athletic 2A Conference Bandys:…
After drawing a penalty corner in the 20th minute of play on Friday, Florine Koopman inserted the ball to Sarah Perkins who dropped a pass off to Charlotte Bosma who slapped the ball past the Bellarmine defense to notch her second goal of the day and lead the App State Mountaineers (5-2, 1-0 MAC) to a 4-2 victory over the Bellarmine Knights (2-5, 0-1 MAC) in the 2023 MAC opener.
Friday’s win was the first time the Mountaineers have won their conference opener since joining the MAC in 2017. The win also marks the fifth straight regular season conference win for the Black & Gold and the second straight regular season conference road win.
Bosma’s career day would be the difference in App State’s fifth consecutive win over Bellarmine on Friday. The junior tallied two goals and added an assist as part of a five-point performance. The pressure she applied on the Bellarmine defense had the Knights on their heels all game and she was able to take advantage of multiple attacking chances.
“I’m really happy to score two goals today,” Bosma said. “My aggressiveness in the forward line really helped the press so all my teammates could pick up from there and that’s how we were successful today.”
Hadley Kuzmicky was another standout in today’s game, becoming the fifth Mountaineer this season to score their first career goal and doing so in her return to her home state. Kuzmicky netted her goal in the third quarter off a great pass by Rachel Fleig and slapped it through the defense and into the cage to give the Mountaineers their fourth goal of the day.
“It was really exciting to score my first goal, especially being back home this weekend,” Kuzmicky said. “It meant a lot to me, but the goal wouldn’t have been possible without the fight and grit of the team. I’m excited that it was a great team goal, and that it was in my hometown.”
The Mountaineers got off to a fast start on Friday, which was something head coach Emily Dinsmore stressed to the team this week. Charlotte Bosma got the ball into the circle early in the quarter and laid it off for Noa Ginjaume Matas, who made her first career start today, but she would miss the net.
With three minutes to play in the first, App State drew the game’s first penalty corner. Off the insert by Florine Koopman to Sarah Perkins, Charlotte Bosma would take the ball and fire it through the Bellarmine defense and into the net for the game’s first score. Bosma’s goal was her 10th career goal and third of the season.
The Knights would quickly answer back and tie the game just 28 seconds later after Paige Hoyer scored her fifth goal of the season. It was the first goal the Mountaineers have allowed in the first period of a contest this season. After a quarter of play, the game was tied 1-1.
App State started the second period very fast and would take the lead back just 22 seconds into the quarter. After stealing a bad pass from Bellarmine, Charlotte Bosma dribbled the ball deep into the circle and dished to Sarah Farrell who knocked the ball into the net. The goal was Farrell’s first of the season and would give the Mountaineers a lead they would never relinquish.
As play moved on in the quarter, App State continued the aggressive play and continued to attack the circle, drawing their second penalty corner of the day. Bosma would be the beneficiary again off the corner opportunity, smacking a shot through the defense and into the back of the cage for her second goal of the day and fourth of the season. Perkins was credited with her second assist of the day, giving her a team-high fourth assist on the season.
The defense was able to prevent a scoring chance for the Knights as play neared halftime on Friday with Addie Clark making a phenomenal diving stop on a Bente Moormann shot attempt. After 30 minutes of play, App State led 3-1, outshooting the Knights 5-2.
Bellarmine came out strong to start the third quarter, generating a scoring chance early on. The Mountaineer defense, who only allowed four shots all day, was able to stop this chance and generate a quick attack the other way.
Rachel Fleig, who was just subbed in two minutes prior, dribbled the ball up the field and laid a perfect pass to an open Hadley Kuzmicky who dropped it past the Bellarmine defense for her first career goal. Kuzmicky became the fifth Mountaineer to score their first career goal this season and the ninth player on the roster to record a goal.
App State was able to keep the ball on their side of the field for much of the quarter but couldn’t crack the net for a fifth time. Sarah Farrell, who attempted four shots on Friday, had a great chance to score, but couldn’t extend the lead as App State would take a 4-1 lead into the final 15 minutes.
Generating defense to offense was another story today for App State as there were multiple instances of the Mountaineer defense generating a stop and rushing quickly up the field for another scoring chance. Early in the period, App State stopped a Bellarmine chance and took the ball quickly up the field and fired two shots on goal. Bellarmine goalkeeper Kailey Workman was able to save a shot by Charlotte Bosma to keep the score 4-1.
In the 51st minute, Bellarmine was able to draw a penalty corner and would capitalize on that chance with their second goal of the day to cut the Mountaineer lead to two. Anna Crump scored this goal, her second of the year.
Although the Knights controlled the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers were able to take control of this contest in the second quarter and prevail in the 2023 MAC opener. It was the first time the Mountaineers have won their MAC opener since joining the MAC in 2017.
“It’s always great to start 1-0 in conference,” head coach Emily Dinsmore said. “The team has been saying ‘small ego, big mission’ throughout the season and today’s win over Bellarmine will help us continue that mission as we set our eyes on the MAC tournament.”
App State will have six days off before returning home to Brandon & Erica M. Adcock Field to take on the Miami RedHawks on Friday, Sept. 22, in what will be a MAC Championship game rematch from 2022. First touch is slated for noon