FLORENCE, SC – Freshman forward Zenia Nava tapped in a rebound shot with 2:22 remaining to lift Francis Marion University to a 2-1 upset of UNC Pembroke, Wednesday evening (Oct. 30) in Peach Belt Conference women's soccer play.
The win brings the Patriots' overall mark to 7-6-1 and its Peach Belt Conference record to 4-5-0. The victory catapults the Patriots into sixth place in the PBC standings.
UNC Pembroke (11-4-0, 6-3-0) entered the match having allowed only 11 goals in 14 matches and was ranked 48th in NCAA Division for goals against average (0.766).
FMU senior goalkeeper Micahla Kitchen earned her sixth win of the year by making six saves. Senior UNCP goalkeeper Gina Ryan finished with four stops.
UNCP took and early 1-0 advantage when a backwards kick beyond midfield by Paula Valbuena fell between two FMU defenders and junior Alexis Pittman ran onto the ball and slotted a 12-yard shot past Kitchen at the 11:12 mark.
Patriot junior midfielder Dayle McEwen's goal equalized with a score from 11 yards out following a cross from junior Emma Hall at the 22:26 mark. That score was McEwen's team-leading seven goal of 2019 and the 18th of her career. Nava started the sequence with a long dribbling run down the right sideline.
Nava earned her first goal of the season with the go-ahead score at 87:38. The play began with a free kick just outside the 18-yard box on the right side of the field following an UNCP foul. Hall's service sailed in and sophomore Kiley Barr headed the ball toward the Braves' goal. The ball bounced off the left post and fell to the feet of Nava who tapped it in from four yards out.
Both teams had earlier chances to break the 1-1 deadlock. Francis Marion junior Sarah Moll took a free kick from 28 yards out that sailed just over the crossbar in the 59th minute. A pair of UNCP shots found the crossbar in the 64th and 70th minutes.
Francis Marion will travel to Columbus State University on Saturday (Nov. 2) for a 1 p.m. kick-off. The Patriots then return home to Hartzler Field to take on Belmont Abbey College on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.
Post-match comments from FMU head coach Lindsey Morgan and senior goalkeeper Micahla Kitchen
Francis Marion Univ. (7-6-1, 4-5-0) def. UNC Pembroke (11-4-0, 6-3-0) 2-1
Date: 10/30/19 Attendance: 129
Weather: Overcast, intermittent light rain
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
UNC Pembroke........ 1 0 - 1
Francis Marion Univ. 1 1 - 2
1-0. 11:12 UNCP Alexis Pittman (6) (Paula Valbuena) - Backwards kick from beyond midfield beco
1-1. 22:26 FMU_W Dayle McEwen (7) (Emma Hall) - service from right side, settled and sco
2-1. 87:38 FMU_W Zenia Nava (1) (Kiley Barr) - Tap in of rebound off shot off post
Shots: UNC Pembroke 12, Francis Marion 7 ; Saves: UNC Pembroke 3 (Gina Ryan 3), Francis Marion 6 (Micahla Kitchen 6)