No. 7 Armstrong Atlantic downs highest-ranked foe in program history
PENSACOLA, Fla. -- No. 7 Armstrong Atlantic State scored twice in a two-and-a-half minute stretch in the second half to knock off second-ranked and previously unbeaten West Florida 2-1 on Monday.
The Pirates (9-1-1) won their ninth consecutive match against the Argonauts (11-1) - who will, because of timing, ascend to No. 1 in the nation in tomorrow's NSCAA Division II Top 25 Coaches' poll. Today's match will not be included in those rankings.
The win still represents the highest-ranked opponent that Armstrong Atlantic has beaten in the eight-year history of the program, eclipsing the 1-0 win against No. 3 Columbus State on Oct. 9, 2010.
Both teams played a tough defensive first half as the score remained 0-0 into halftime. Each team tallied six shots in the first half.
The Pirates pulled ahead in the 60th minute as a cross by senior Nadima Skeff took a deflection off of a West Florida defender in the box and caromed into the net for a goal, putting Armstrong Atlantic ahead, 1-0.
Just two minutes and 20 seconds later, a corner kick by the Pirates provided the pivotal second goal. Senior Emily Cattanach's corner was headed across the box by senior Morgan Mitchell, where Kristina Pascutti volleyed it into the goal for the 2-0 lead in the 63rd minute.
The Pirates almost made it a three-goal lead as Pascutti had a shot cleared off the line by the Argos and junior Andye Dawson's follow-up shot hit the post in the 66th minute.
West Florida got a goal back in the 77th minute as a long free kick by Rachel Cutts bounced inside the box, where Shelby Bush got a foot on it to push it in the goal, making it a one-goal game.
In the 83rd minute, the Argos had a game-tying shot by Bush turned away by freshman goalkeeper Morgan Luckie, and Armstrong Atlantic's defense held West Florida without a shot the rest of the way to close out the victory.
"This match had all the feel of an NCAA tournament match," Armstrong Atlantic head coach Eric Faulconer said. "Coach Bartolinski has a great team and coming into West Florida, we know, is a difficult place to play. Our kids fought extremely hard for 90 minutes, defended very well and capitalized on two solid opportunities to score. We will now rest up and get ready for conference play ahead but it was definitely a great win for our program today."
West Florida held a 15-10 edge in shots for the match. Argos keeper Sarah Story made four saves in net while Luckie made five saves for the Pirates.
The Argos had five corner kicks, compared to two for the Pirates, and Armstrong Atlantic was whistled for 15 fouls, compared to 11 for West Florida.