WCU Women’s soccer kicked off their 2007 home season with a resounding 2-0 win over the Winthrop Golden Eagles Friday Sept. 7.
Catamount Soccer has a tradition of sending a message in their home openers, and Friday was no exception. The Cats are 3-0 for winning opening games in the Catamount Athletic Complex. The Winthrop Golden Eagles were a tough opponent, as they were last season’s Big South Tournament champions. Two early first-half goals spoke loud and clear for the Catamounts: this is our house, and you’ve got to bring you’re best to win here.
The Catamounts came in to the game with a specific game plan: spread the ball around and outrun a bigger, very physical Winthrop team. The plan worked to perfection four minutes into the game as the Catamount’s Bri Cunningham was able to place a picture-perfect thru pass to sophomore forward Shannon Fowkes for the first goal of the game.
WCU was able to posses the ball for the majority of the first half with their speed and superior passing. All Southern Conference midfielder Heather Dittmer was able to create space for herself and rifle a line-drive shot from 30 yards out to left corner in the 20 minute mark. Dittmer’s goal was her first of the season.
Coach Tammy DeCesare knew that securing an early lead was important for her team’s success. “It’s always a sigh of relief [to get the early lead], because as the game progresses, you are able to make some mistakes,” she said. “When you have the lead, you can keep pushing and pushing as the time clicks off.”
Despite the show the Lady Cats put on in the first half, Winthrop wasn’t going away without a fight. The second half showcased a battle for possession in the midfield with neither team scoring a goal. A second half bright spot for the Catamounts was freshman forward Courtney Malton, who came off the bench with great energy and added two shots on goal.
Nearly 700 supporters filled the stands to bring the noise Catamount athletics are famous for. “This place generates energy for this team,” DeCesare said. “This is like hallowed ground here. If I could play every game in Cullowhee, I think I would schedule it. I think the energy, especially here under the lights, it is electric for the girls.”
This win, along with last weeks 2-1 victory of UNCA, brought the Catamounts to an overall record of 3-1-0 to start the season. Bri Cunningham is also leading the team in points after her assist.