Buies Creek, N.C. – Ashley Clark scored two goals in the first 21 minutes to lead Campbell to a 3-0 victory over the USC Upstate women’s soccer team Monday night in an exhibition contest from the Eakes Athletic Complex.
Clark netted her first goal of the match in the eighth minute when she headed a free kick off the foot of Marissa Hartert to beat Upstate keeper Ellen Bright. Clark, who finished with a game-high five shots, struck again in the 21st minute with a one-timer from approximately 20 yards out. Michelle Procaccini started the scoring play with a through ball from the left side that found a streaking Clark across the field.
“We dug ourselves into a pretty deep hole early on because of some defensive miscues during the first stages of the game,” USC Upstate head coach Abby Minihan said. “We lost our mark on the first goal and then got beat on a counter attack for the second goal after losing sight of Clark in the open field.”
The two teams played scoreless soccer for the next 68 minutes before Kylee Arno converted a shot just outside the Upstate box in the 89th minute to register the third goal of the contest.
“We played so much better after the first 30 minutes by keeping possession and creating more scoring opportunities,” Minihan said. “We also had much better movement after the first two goals, but we have to continue to work on breaking into the final third to give ourselves a better opportunity to finish scoring chances.”
Upstate senior forward Kenzie Major paced the Spartans with three shots and Alexa Hone, Haley Gethin and Ciara Murphy each tallied one. Bright, Lauren Cox and Brooke Bailey all saw action in goal and logged at least 21 minutes apiece.
“We played a lot of different people in a lot of different positions tonight, but I was so proud of the way many of the girls played despite being asked to play in situations and positions there are unaccustomed to,” Minihan added. “I am still extremely optimistic about this season because we are light years ahead of where we were this time last season.”
Upstate makes its home debut Saturday at 7 p.m. when the Spartans welcome Winthrop to County University Soccer Stadium for the final exhibition match of the preseason.