SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Cassidy Marshall connected on her first score of the season, but it was not enough as Converse (0-2) soccer dropped a non-conference affair to visiting Shaw (1-0) University on Tuesday evening in the Valkyries home opener.
Marshall led the way with three shots, while Claudia Coffin and Melissa Carlyle added two each. Darian Bankston took the tough loss after going the distance between the pipes, allowing three scores and tallying seven saves.
Shaw wasted no time jumping on the scoreboard, posting two goals in the game's first eight minutes of action. The first score came off a misplayed ball by the Valkyries keeper, while the second was result of a turnover in the box by Converse.
Converse was presented with a golden opportunity just two minutes later, but Marshall's free kick from 25 sailed just above the crossbar, keeping the Valkyries off the board.
Shaw was poised to add to the lead, but a shot glanced off the post and Converse took advantage of the slight error from the Bears. Following a corner kick, Claudia Coffin struck a ball towards the goal and it hit the hand of a defender in the box, allowing a penalty kick for the Purple and Gold.
Marshall calmly stepped up and blasted the rock past the keeper to narrow the gap to 2-1 with just over 24 minutes to play before halftime. Darian Bankston kept the Valkyries in the game, mastering the art of the save, as she turned away six Bears' shots, including two that showcased her athleticism. Neither team was able to find the back of the net the rest of the way, allowing Shaw took the 2-1 lead into the locker room.
After a stalemate over the initial 17 minutes of the second half, Morgan Tyler narrowly missed tying the game, taking a beautiful pass from Marshall into the box, but her shot missed the far corner of the net by merely inches.
Shaw added a late goal in the 81st minute when Leslie Mendoza took a breakaway ball and snuck it into the lower right corner of the cage, giving the Bears a 3-1 lead late. Converse could not push through the SU defense the remainder of the half and dropped the contest by that same score.
The Valkyries will return to the pitch on Saturday, September 8, traveling to face Mount Olive in a Conference Carolinas showdown. That contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Amon Field.