ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Tori Baliatico scored twice in the first half and Elon University women’s soccer held on in the second half for a 2-1 win at UNC Asheville on Thursday evening, Sept. 14, at Greenwood Field.
Baliatico recorded her second career two-goal game, scoring her ninth and 10th career goals for the Phoenix in the first 45 minutes. Carson Jones and Grace Bennett assisted the first and second goals, respectively.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said head coach Chris Neal. “We created a handful of really good chances to score in the first half but we simply did not compete hard enough in the 2nd. We have to give UNCA a tremendous amount of the credit for our poor performance in the 2nd half. They played very well, put us under a ton of pressure, and we just did not respond. We dodged a few bullets for sure but that’s football. Sometimes the ball bounces your way. We have to recover quickly, diagnose our issues tonight, and prepare for a dangerous Davidson team on Sunday.”
The Phoenix improves to 6-2-1 overall and extends its winning streak to three games with the victory. The Bulldogs fall to 3-3-1 on the season after the loss.
Baliatico gave the Phoenix a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute. Jones played a through ball and Baliatico chipped the goalkeeper in the one-on-one opportunity.
Just over eight minutes later, the Scotch Plains, N.J. native scored her second of the contest off Bennett’s pass to put Elon ahead 2-0 in the 31st minute. She stayed composed in front of goal just six yards out, took a touch, and placed her shot into the lower left corner.
In the second half, UNC Asheville’s Caroline Houser beat Elon goalkeeper Hanna Macaulay near post into the top left corner just two minutes into the half to cut Elon’s lead 2-1 in the 47th minute.
Taylor Paradoski created two great chances in the second half. Her closest and the team’s best chance to score in the half came in the 64th minute when her shot missed just inches past the right post.
The Bulldogs continued to pressure the Phoenix in the second half, outshooting Elon a total of 8-4 in the final 45 minutes.
The Phoenix defense made two clutch plays in the final minutes, sliding to block two UNC Asheville shots in the 84th minute to hold on for the 2-1 victory. Macaulay extends her unbeaten streak in net to five matches, improving to 4-0-1 overall.
– Tori Baliatico registered her second career two-goal game, her first since scoring twice at South Carolina State on Sept. 6, 2015.
– Elon and UNC Asheville tied in the shot count 10-10, but the Phoenix had the edge in shots on frame, winning the battle 6-5.
– The Phoenix has won three straight matches for the first time since winning four straight from Aug. 30 – Sept. 11, during the 2015 season.
– Goalkeeper Hanna Macaulay improves her unbeaten streak to five matches, improving her record to 4-0-1 overall on the year.
The Phoenix concludes the non-conference portion of its schedule on Sunday, Sept. 17 at Davidson. The match will kick off at 2 p.m.