COLUMBIA, Ky. — Lee’s fourth straight win of the season was one of the biggest for coach Matt Yelton’s women’s soccer team. The Lady Flames defeated the NAIA’s top-ranked team on Thursday evening by a 2-1 margin.
“Anytime you get a result against Lindsey Wilson up here, you’ve had a good day,” said Yelton. “I think the world of coach Drew Burwash and the program at Lindsey. They play the game the way it should be played and do it with class, so to get a win up here is a big accomplishment for our team.”
The two powerhouses battled toe-to-toe for over 86 minutes. Senior Danielle Ciabattone scored her first goal of the season and the ninth tally of her career to put the Lady Flames on top for good. The goal came off a near-perfect corner kick by senior Debbie Rogers.
“Debbie put in an excellent performance tonight. She provided great service and did a great job defensively against their creative players in midfield,” noted Yelton.
“I thought we had a lot of players put in gutsy performances but Liz Hagen and Danielle (Ciabattone) both came in off the bench and made a huge difference in the match,” he added.
Lee took a 1-0 lead at the 29:35 mark, thanks to an “own goal” by the Blue Raiders. The score came after Rogers had delivered a long service into the box. Lindsey Wilson tied the game less than two minutes later on a goal by Renee Hurd. The hard-fought battle remained deadlocked until Ciabattone’s goal.
“This team just continues to respond to challenge after challenge,” confessed Yelton. “They have come so far in such a short time, that they have surprised even me with the level that they are playing at.”
The 4-2 Lady Flames had 10 shots and four were on goal, while allowing the Blue Raiders just eight shots but five were on target. Lee’s Haley Gribler had four saves in the win and Lindsey’s Johanna Henrikson had three for the losers. Lee took advantage of five corner kicks and the hosts were awarded seven.
The Blue Raiders are one of the few teams to hold an advantage over a Yelton-coached club. The series stands at 4-9-1 and it was only the second loss of the year for Lindsey Wilson. It has seven wins in the books.
Sam Pewitt was injured in the first half and will be evaluated on Friday. Yelton hopes the junior will be ready to return next Wednesday, when the Lady Flames host West Georgia in a Gulf South Conference contest.