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The University of South Carolina women’s soccer team opened play Saturday in Wilmington, N.C., where the Lancers faced Howard Community College.
The Dragons of HCC, located in Columbia, Md., are about 20 minutes from Baltimore and have a student population of 7,000.
The match was played in Wilmington to serve as a neutral site for both clubs.
This is the first match for a new coaching staff at USCL as well as the team’s first challenge of the season.
Misfortune struck early for the Lancers women as they scored an early goal for the HCC Dragons within the opening six minutes of the match.
“It was just a misplayed ball by our sweeper who was trying to clear it out,” USCL first-year coach Randy Jordan said. “We played real tight and timid in the first 15 minutes, and they took advantage of that. After we settled down, the girls played better.”
The Dragons tallied the second goal of the match off a shot from the HCC forward. The Lancers’ keeper, freshman Sydney Hinson out of Andrew Jackson High School who had five saves, just missed the chance to deny the second goal.
The score came at the 11th minute and stayed that way for the rest of the 45-minute first half.
The second half began almost the same way the first half did, with unfortunate luck for the Lancers. On a corner kick, Hinson made a nice leaping save only to have the ball drop out of her gloves and right on the foot of Howard forward Johnae Furbert, who placed the ball into the back of the net.
“We had just emphasized staying with your mark and not watching the play,” Jordan said. “We watched our keeper go up for the save and forgot to play defense, leaving Furbert open to score Howard’s third goal.”
With Howard up 3-0, the Lancers kept battling for the final 32 minutes.
“We held them out of both halves the final 30 minutes or so, so hopefully we can take this and build on it,” Jordan said.
“We’re still looking to add a few players to our roster which only consists of 14 players,” Jordan said. “There were several good athletes who for various reasons either didn’t play, or left us before the season started.”
The new USCL coaching staff is hoping to add several players.
“The chance for these women to compete on the college level should be pursued before their time expires at USCL,” Jordan said.
Jordan, assistant Nicole Bulinsky, assistant Richard Caughman and student assistant Johnathan Haile would welcome any female athlete to come and join the Lancers women’s program.
“I have had so many guys come up and ask to play, that I dare say we’d have two teams to fulfill their requests,” Jordan said. “Hopefully, these guys will encourage their girlfriends to play.”
The Lancers are back in action Saturday at 2 p.m.
The team travels to Sumter to meet the USCS Fire Ants in the first league match for the USCL women this season.
The Lancers compete in Region X along with five other programs from the Carolinas.
The match will be played at the new field at USC-Sumter.