Aug. 17, 2012
MACON, Ga. - Chelsea Cruthirds received a free kick service from Danielle Beatty at the back post and headed it in with less than four minute remaining to give Southern Miss (0-0-1) a season opening draw against Atlantic Sun foe Mercer (0-0-1).
It was the first time in the 16-year history of the program that the team opened the season with a draw.
"It was really a tale of two halves for us tonight," said coach Scott Ebke. "In the first half, we really could not find the momentum to get our attack up to speed. But, it was a completely different story in the second and I'm extremely proud of the way our team rallied together to pull out this result."
Mercer's Lauren Gassie put the Bears up 1-0 in the 26th minute as she was able to play Patricia-Anne Upson's pass over Southern Miss keeper Lindsey Schwaner.
But it was all Schwaner the rest of the game as the junior saved a penalty kick with 10 minutes to go in regulation to allow for the Southern Miss goal.
"Lindsey came up huge for us tonight," said Ebke. "She made some big time saves and gave our team the confidence they needed to get the equalizer."
Southern Miss was also the victim of some bad luck as senior Jordan Wagner hit iron twice on separate shots that could have potential swung the game into a Golden Eagle victory.
"Anytime you go on the road, you have to expect it to be tough," Ebke added. "The biggest thing my staff and I wanted to see after halftime was how the team would respond and they came out and played tough and got this result."
It was also the second consecutive start for Schwaner that went into two overtime periods. Last season, Schwaner played the full 110 minutes against Louisiana Tech as the Eagles and Lady Techsters also drew but without a goal allowed on either side.
Southern Miss will return to action next weekend when they travel to Louisiana for a two-game road swing, with games against Louisiana Tech and Southeastern Louisiana.