Siloam Springs, Ark. (October 18, 2006) - The John Brown Golden Eagles inched up the Sooner Athletic Conference standings with a 3-1 win Wednesday over Northwestern Okla. State in Siloam Springs. Senior forward Nikki Ganter scored the go-ahead goal in the 70th minute for John Brown (4-9-1, 4-5-1 SAC), which now sits by itself in fifth place, the win having broken a tie with Northwestern (4-9-1, 3-6-1 SAC).
The match took place in the midst of some blustery weather that barreled into Northwest Arkansas less than an hour before the opening whistle. The Golden Eagles shook off the sudden cold and blowing mist by opening the first half on the attack, narrowly missing several scoring opportunities.
Soon after the beginning of the second half, however, John Brown hit its stride. Sophomore midfielder Rachel Gerdin sparked the fire with a 47th-minute header into the right corner of the net off a cross from sophomore forward Stacie Burley. Northwestern answered in the 52nd minute when a 30-yard shot by Sarah Bryant was accidentally headed into the goal by John Brown junior defender Alison Boster. The Golden Eagles overcame that unfortunate error, however, and secured the lead for good in the 70th minute when senior midfielder Amber Aparicio kicked the ball into the box past a defender to Ganter, who finished the play with a goal. Senior forward Lauren Craft rounded out the scoring in the 79th minute with a 30-yard shot over Ranger goalkeeper Dana Gandolfo. Freshman midfielder Michaela Brannan picked up the assist.
John Brown was relentless in attacking the Northwestern goal with 15 shots-on-goal and 12 corner kicks. The Golden Eagle defense limited the Rangers to just three shots-on-goal and one corner kick. Sophomore goalkeeper Megan Rouse made three saves for John Brown, and the beleaguered Gandolfo made a baker’s dozen for Northwestern.
After the match, John Brown head coach Joe Thoma commented, “I'm really proud of the girls for not getting down after the own goal. We've had several weird goals like that happen to us this year…but we got the winner [today]. This win puts us alone at fifth in the conference, so it’s important that we take care of business with OBU [Oklahoma Baptist] coming in here on Saturday. We lost 1-0 to them at their place, so the match should be exciting.”
The Golden Eagles will host Oklahoma Baptist, the third-place team in the SAC, at 1:00 on Saturday.