Football wasn’t the only sport that brought a rival to campus this past weekend. In fact, the women’s soccer team wrote the script for the dramatic weekend, you know, the one about sending the rivals home with an overtime defeat. It happened Friday night first as the Gamecocks knocked off the rival Troy Trojans, yes, in double overtime.
A week after winning their home opener over Alabama A&M, JSU looked to down another in-state foe. Troy was the more aggressive team in the opening half as JSU struggled to maintain possession and set up a strong offense. Troy took 11 shots before the break to JSU’s one.
Just before the half Jacksonville State was called for a foul just outside their own box giving the Trojans a free kick from very close territory, but Jax State sophomore goalie Taylor Hammond made a huge save. Hammond commanded the goal all night playing all 110 minutes and picked up 10 saves in the shutout victory.
The Gamecocks came out with a stronger offense for the final 45 minutes, but even with ten shots, JSU couldn’t find the net before the end of regulation.
In the first overtime JSU’s scoring leader Jackie Rush attempted to end the match a few times getting off a couple of good shots, but they were all turned away. Then Troy pressured in the closing minutes and was able to fire off three threatening corner kicks which led to two good shot attempts, one went wide of the net, the other was another great save by Hammond.
The second OT wasn’t in play long before a foul on Troy setup freshmen midfielder MacKenzie Bellows with a free kick from just over 20 yards out. Bellows’ kick was perfectly placed and sailed over the Trojan goalkeeper and into the back of the net for the game winner. It was Bellows’ second goal of the season.
With the 1-0 victory, the Gamecocks ended a three game skid against the rivals from Troy, but the win, the first since 2006, pushed JSU to a 10-3 lead in the series.
Following a road loss at Mercer on Sunday, JSU is now 3-3-1, but 2-0 at home and getting set for a four match home stand at the JSU Soccer Complex which includes Alabama State this Friday night, and the opening of OVC play next Friday night as Eastern Kentucky comes to town.