The Charlotte 49ers (1-0) women’s soccer team defeated the Liberty Flames (0-1) in an overtime thriller at Transamerica Field by a score of 1-0 to kick off their 20th season in program history. Star midfielder Amanda Jones buried the game-winning goal with 2:01 remaining in the second and final overtime period to send the Transamerica crowd into a frenzy.
Both teams showed the typical opening night jitters early on and suffered from sloppy turnover-filled play that was hard to watch at times. 49ers coach John Cullen wasn’t surprised by his teams struggles and was proud that his ladies found a way to persevere through adversity.
“I think both teams were desperate to win and get off to a 1-0 start and that led to quite a few mistakes,” said Cullen.
“I told my girls that if we could stay in games, then we were good enough to win games and that was important.”
Liberty came out of the locker room as the much more aggressive team to start the second half and had two really close calls as midfielder Brittany Aanderud blasted two shots from outside the box that banged off of the crossbar keeping Charlotte’s hopes of winning alive.
The game was largely a back and forth contest throughout the first 107 minutes of play. Charlotte had the advantage in both shots on goal (21-17) and corner kicks (4-3).
The 49ers were finally able to piece together a string of successful team play with two minutes remaining in the game as sophomore Maddie Kiebel played a beautiful ball to junior Amanda Jones who beat Liberty keeper Holly VanNoord to seal the deal.
Jones said post-game, “It felt really good to pull the win out in overtime, and it was really good for the team to get this win.”
The 49ers will play again on Sunday afternoon at Transamerica Field against the UNC Wilmington Seahawks with kick-off scheduled for 1 p.m.