Koalas beat Erskine to finish perfect against in-state rivals

It was a momentous night for multiple reasons as the Columbia College soccer team defeated the Erskine College Flying Fleet 5-1 on the road on Wednesday evening.

The matchup was the final in-state rivalry game of the season for the Koalas, who had previously beaten USCB and CIU in duels of SC based teams. The Koalas dominated from start to finish against Erskine, making it the trifecta for the season and moving the Koalas to 10-5 in the process. The 10 win season marks the sixth straight 10+ win season for the team, and also guarantees them a winning record for the sixth year in a row.

It took just under nine minutes for the Koalas to open the scoring, when Freshman Courtney Carrier took a through ball from Senior Ashley Tanner and laced a left footed strike into the top corner to make it 1-0.

Sophomore Ruby Hallam would then make it 2-0, scoring the eventual game winner, as she ran onto a flick from Tanner and beat Flying Fleet goalkeeper Abbigale Schmidt low to the left in the 21st minute.

Carrier got her second of the night in the 22nd minute on a fantastic back post header on a corner delivered by Senior Anna Seder, as Carrier's header hit the underside of the bar and went in to leave Schmidt completely helpless.

Tanner then became the beneficiary of Seder in the first few minutes of the second half, latching onto a searching through ball and beating Schmidt at her near post for her team leading 12th goal of the season in the 48th minute.

Erskine managed to cut into the Koalas lead with 23 minutes remaining on the clock, as Junior Morgan McCray's smart save from Ani Miller-Wells fell kindly to Anna Smith and she passed the loose ball into an empty net to make it 4-1.

The Koalas continued to pile on the pressure and Schmidt was forced into mutiple quality saves from Hallam, Junior Amber Tanner and Junior Hannah Fox, before the Koalas made it 5-1 with 21 minutes left.

Amber Tanner won a corner on the left side of the field, and Hallam's curling cross eluded everyone at the near post to give the midfielder her fourth goal in the last two games.

The sides exchanged chances over the last quarter of the match but no more goals were forthcoming, and the Koalas rode out 5-1 winners over the Flying Fleet.

Junior Kat Yahnke and McCray both played in goal, with Yahnke allowing no goals and collecting six saves while McCray allowed one and had three saves.

For the Fleet, Schmidt had 7 saves while allowing five goals, and the Koalas outshot the Fleet 24-17 for the match.

Columbia returns to AAC play on Friday evening when they travel to Bluefield College for a 6 PM kickoff.