DAHLONEGA, Ga. — The Lady Railsplitters (1-1-1) struck early in the second half on a goal by Nicole McKinney to jump out to a 1-0 lead, however, the North Georgia Nighthawks (2-1-0) scored twice late in regulation to upend the Lincoln Memorial University women’s soccer team, 2-1, on Wednesday.
Lincoln Memorial struggled throughout the contest on the offensive side of the field, as they capped the game with a 15-2 disparity in shots fired and a 10-2 deficit in shots on goal.
Junior Rachael Vienneau mustered the lone shot for the Lady Railsplitters in the first frame, but her attempt at the 29:14 mark was deflected by Nighthawk keeper Mallory Sayre.
North Georgia, countered with seven first-half shots and four shots on goal. However, LMU netminder Kayla Stephens kept her season scoreless streak intact by stalling all four of those attempts to send the game into the break squared at 0-0.
Junior striker Nicole McKinney tallied the only other shot for the Lady Railsplitters on the night, and the Ooltewah, Tenn., native connected for her first goal of the season at the 45:45 mark. McKinney broke through after leading the Lady Railsplitters with eight total shots in the first two games of the season, scoring an unassisted goal to give Lincoln Memorial a 1-0 advantage.
The Lady Railsplitters would cling to that one-goal lead for nearly 30 minutes until the Nighthawks squared the game with a goal by Kelly Penston at the 75:35 clip. Penston used a pass from Sydney Reeder to tally her second score of the season. Five minutes later, the Nighthawks took the lead thanks to a Jacy Ramey header off of a corner kick by Megan Morrow.
Lincoln Memorial was unable to get off a shot in the final 10 minutes of play, while North Georgia sent off two shots over that same span.
Despite allowing her first two goals of the season, Stephens was strong in goal for the Lady Railsplitters, as she accumulated eight saves in 90 minutes of action. Her counterpart, Sayre, notched one save and surrendered one goal over 90 minutes of work to pick up the win.
Five different players recorded at least two shots in the game for the Nighthawks, a figure that was headlined by Kelly Penston’s five shots and four shots on goal. North Georgia capped the contest with a 9-1 advantage in corner kicks.
The Lady Railsplitters are set to return to action on Saturday with a trip to Hartsville, S.C., to open up South Atlantic Conference play against the Coker Cobras.