CHARLESTON, S.C. - Toni Lashley recorded her first collegiate hat-trick and freshmen Gina Cox and Ashley Lowdermilk scored their first collegiate goals as the Lady Bucs defeated visiting UNC Asheville on Saturday morning at Buccaneer Field in Big South Conference play, 5-2.
Lashley joined senior midfielder Rebecca Hollstegge with hat-tricks on the season for the Lady Bucs as the CSU duo became the first teammates to score three goals in a game on the season since the 2009 campaign when Marky Boyce and Morgann Wood found the back of the net three times on the year.
"It’s always good to come home and play in front of our fans," commented head coach Eric Terrill after the match. "With Gina (Cox) and Ashley (Lowdermilk) scoring the first goals and Toni (Lashley) playing great, we had a complete team effort out on the field and our defense played well against a team that scores a lot of goals."
The five goals CSU scored in the contest is a season high for Charleston Southern and the most for the program dating back to the 2010 campaign against Presbyterian College on October 18th.
Charleston Southern improves to 6-8-1 on the season and evens their conference record to 4-4 with the victory over the Bulldogs. UNC Asheville falls to 3-13, 1-7 in Big South Conference play with the loss.
UNC Asheville opened the game with the first shots on the net as the Bulldogs opened up play with four shots toward goal as Bria West, Kaitlyn Eckert and Amanda Knapp all fired toward goal before CSU’s Chloe Urig put the Lady Bucs first shot on net at the 9:45 mark.
Asheville’s Heather Muller and CSU’s Caitlin Cody kept the game scoreless through the first 18 minutes before the Bulldogs found a crack in the CSU defense to put the first point on the scoreboard. Knapp collected a failed clearance at the top of the goal box and directed the ball to Kennedy Garrett and the freshman forward scored her third goal of the season with a shot through the traffic in front of the goal to put the Bulldogs up 1-0 at the 18:01 mark.
The Bulldogs continued to press their advantage, firing three more shots but Cody kept Asheville at bay with a pair of saves before Lashley evened the score with her ninth goal of the season at the 27:31 mark. The junior forward headed the long pass from Hollstegge into the box past an advancing Muller and tapped the ball into the open net to even the score at 1-apiece.
Eight minutes later Lowdermilk settled the ball after a scramble inside the box off a corner kick by Cox and the freshman midfielder scored her first collegiate goal, sliding her shot through traffic into the bottom right corner of the net from six yards out for the go-ahead goal at the 35:56 mark as Charleston Southern took the 2-1 lead.
CSU put another tally on the scoreboard before the half ended as Tori Wright lofted a pass from midfield, settling the ball in front of Cox at the top left corner of the goal box. The left-footed freshman midfielder took one dribble in before firing a shot toward the upper right corner of the net. Her attempt was deflected off Muller’s gloves and into the net at the 38:43 mark for Cox’s first career collegiate goal.
Lashley continued to press the advantage as CSU completed their 4-0 run to take control of the game in the opening minutes of the second half as Hannah Thomas led the junior forward with a pass through the defense into the box, leaving Lashley alone for a one-on-one with Muller. Her shot attempt went into the lower left corner of the net at the 51:19 mark on the clock to give CSU the 4-1 advantage.
Asheville responded less than a minute later as Knapp scored her fourth goal of the season for the Bulldogs receiving a feed into the box by Eckert in the 52nd minute. The junior forward lifted a shot up and over Cody into the net at the 52:04 mark to cut the CSU lead in half at 4-2.
The Bulldogs continued to press, firing 10 of their 18 shots in the second half over the next 12 minutes, but Cody kept Asheville out of the net with six saves during the span before Lashley added her third goal of the day and 11th goal of the season at the 75:58 mark off the feed from Gina Thomas. The ball was crossed in front of the box to Lashley, leading to another one-on-one with Muller and the CSU forward slid the ball into the lower right corner of the net to put the Lady Bucs up 5-2 in the match.
Asheville and Charleston Southern continued swapping shots in the closing minutes of the match, but neither team was able to add to their scoring total as the Lady Bucs topped the Bulldogs in conference action.
UNC Asheville out-shot CSU 32-25 in the match, while Charleston Southern held the 6-3 edge in corner kicks on the goal. Inside the net, Cody led the way with 12 saves on the field, while Muller recorded eight in the box for the visitors.
"Our team did a great job of staying organized and our subs came in and did a great job on the field. The win helps us go in the right direction," said Terrill. "Our goal stays the same in which we want to make the conference tournament and we have three more home games to see how it shapes out."
Charleston Southern remains at home in Big South Conference play as the Lady Bucs host High Point University on Thursday, October 18th. Kickoff between the Lady Bucs and the Panthers is set for 3:30 p.m. UNC Asheville returns home to Greenwood Field in Asheville, N.C. to take on Gardner-Webb, also on the 18th, with kickoff at 3 p.m.Related Item: Box Score