Siloam Springs, Ark. (October 28, 2006) - The John Brown Golden Eagles were dominating their Senior Day match against St. Gregory’s (Okla.) Saturday and leading 1-0 when a controversial no-call on an aggressive play in the penalty box allowed the Cavaliers to tie the score just before halftime. Then the Golden Eagles started over and eventually claimed a 2-1 victory for seniors Amber Aparicio, Lauren Craft, Nikki Ganter, Allison Newburn, Melissa Noble, and Kendra Rehner.
The Golden Eagles established control early when midfielder Newburn dribbled the ball past the goalkeeper and scored from inside the goal box during the 16th minute. One of just a handful of Cavalier drives took place in the 43rd minute and resulted in John Brown sophomore goalkeeper Megan Rouse smothering the ball at the edge of the penalty box, only to have the ball jarred loose seconds later while she still lay on the ground. Kimberly Hawkins tracked the ball down for the Cavaliers and shot it into the open net to knot the score 1-1.
St. Gregory’s (1-16-0, 0-13-0 SAC) could not capitalize from that point on, however, and finished the day with just four shots-on-goal and no corner kicks. John Brown (5-11-1, 5-7-1 SAC), on the other hand, attempted 16 shots-on-goal and 14 corner kicks. Sophomore forward Stacie Burley directed a short corner kick in the 75th minute to midfielder Aparicio, who crossed the ball to sophomore defender Abby Leonard, who then headed it into the goal from five feet away. That goal proved to be the deciding factor.
St. Gregory's goalkeeper Christina Carden made 11 saves in the match, and Rouse made 3 in the first half. Junior Natalie Wall played the second half in goal for John Brown, making her first appearance since injuring her knee in practice during the first week of October. She had no saves Saturday.
Head coach Joe Thoma said, “We controlled the game. The main thing is that we played pretty well, though we had a couple of injuries.” That statement was a reference to freshman midfielders Michaela Brannan and Hannah Toldt, who both left the match in the second half, Brannan after spraining an ankle, and Toldt after taking a nasty kick to her right shin. Thoma continued, “I thought all the seniors had a good game to finish on here at home.”
The Golden Eagles will close out their season Tuesday in a 2:00 match at Southern Nazarene in Bethany, Okla.