FLORENCE, Ala. — Freshman Summer Lanter will always remember her first goal for the Lee women’s soccer team in its first game against a Gulf South Conference opponent.
The winning score came in the 74th minute in Lee’s hard-fought 2-1 victory over the University of North Alabama. It also came against new UNA coach Chris Walker, who served as an assistant under Lee coach Matt Yelton before taking the North Alabama job.
Lanter, who enjoyed an outstanding career at Soddy-Daisy High School, came up with the goal while battling in a crowd of Lion defenders. The UNA scorekeeper listed it as a backward kick.
The Lady Flames evened their overall record at 2-2 with their second straight exciting win. They begin GSC play with a 1-0 mark. Yelton’s club will face another tough NCAA Division II test on Sunday when they travel to Columbus State (Ga.).
Lee got out of the gate fast when senior Ode Fulutudilu scored her first goal of the season at the 8:27 mark. The assist came from Lanter and the Lady Flames carried a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
“We started well, but I knew this was not going to be easy,” said Yelton after the win. “We will not play another team this year that is this well prepared. They played like I thought a Chris Walker team would play. He is doing a good job with this program.”
The Lions evened the score at the 68:52 mark on Jennifer Osmond’s goal. It was a free-kick blast from 30-yards out. “What a score that was,” noted Yelton.
The Lady Flames would not back off. UNA keeper turned back what looked like a sure goal and Lee’s Haley Gribler made a diving save on the other end. With the clock showing 73:18 Lanter scored her game-winning goal, but Gribler and the Lee defenders had to turn away two corner kicks in the final two minutes to preserve the victory.
“We had a couple of good chances to score late,” pointed out Yelton. “Leah (Fortune) just missed and Kinsey (Chichowitz) hit the crossbar with a shot.”
The coach praised the work of his defenders. “They helped keep us well organized and limited their opportunities. Chloe (Rader) was steady all night and Alison (Braun) was disciplined. This was a big road win, and our new players are finding out what it takes to win each time we take the field and that really helps our practice sessions.”
The Lady Flames had 15 shots and placed six on goal. UNA was limited to 10 shots and had five on target. Each goalkeeper had four saves and Lee had eight corner kicks to just two for the Lions.