BELMONT, N.C. – Senior midfielder Nicole Doolittle notched her first two scores of the season and the Converse College (2-2-2, 1-1-1 CC) soccer team got itself back on the winning track with a hard-fought 2-1 decision over Belmont Abbey (5-2, 1-1 CC) on Tuesday evening at Alumni Field. The Crusaders outshot Converse by a massive 27-5 total, but two of those five shots for the Valkyries found the back of the net.
BAC was also awarded five corner kicks to zero for Converse, while fouls were even at five-all. Rachel Stalford improved to 2-0-2 on the season, playing all 90 minutes in goal while allowing just the single goal and collecting eight saves. Kaitlyn Paul dropped to 5-2 after giving up two scores and grabbing one save.
Doolittle tallied four shots and two scores to lead the Purple and Gold, while Anna Claire Albritton had the only other shot for Converse. Morgan Patton registered nine shots for the Crusaders, while Alex Butorovich scored the only goal on the evening for Abbey.
The first 45 was a stalemate offensively as neither team could beat the other keeper, sending the teams into the locker room dead even in a scoreless battle. A few shots by both sides opened play in the second half, but nothing that threatened a score. Until Doolittle took the rock in the 55th minute and blasted a one-timer past the Belmont Abbey keeper, giving the Valkyries a 1-0 lead.
The Converse defense continued to play stellar, turning away any opportunity the Crusaders tried to make. However, Butorovich evened the game at 1-1 in the 78th minute as she just snuck a ball past the outstretched hands of Stalford. Not wanting to head to another overtime game, Doolittle played the part of the hero, knocking in her second goal of the contest just over four minutes later to give Converse the 2-1 lead, a lead that would not be relinquished, despite three corner kicks and five shots down the stretch from the Crusaders.
Belmont Abbey was ranked fifth in the Southeast Region heading into the contest, making the Converse victory the highest over a regionally-ranked opponent in this class' tenure.
Converse will be back in action on Saturday, September 23 as it travels just down I-85 to face Limestone College. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Saints Field.