Taylor’s hat trick blasts LMU women’s soccer past Chowan in season opener
MURFREESBORO, N.C. — Once the first goal pushed through in the 29th minute, a chain reaction took off.
The No.19-ranked Lincoln Memorial University women’s soccer team netted three first-half goals followed by a trio more in the final 45 minutes en route to a season-opening, 6-0, victory over Chowan University in Murfreesboro, N.C., Thursday afternoon.
Hurricane Dorian pushed the kick-off time up five hours, but the Lady Railsplitters (1-0) were more than ready for their first-ever matchup against the Hawks (0-1).
“Happy to start the season with a win and a performance in which we were able to control large parts of the field,” LMU head coach Sean Fraser said.
Sophomore Rachel Taylor was the leader of the chain reaction, heading in the first goal of the season — which was also her first career score — off a beautiful cross from newcomer Ermelinda Pantaleao to put the ladies in blue up early at the 29th-minute mark.
LMU didn’t let up from there as — less than 10 minutes later — another new face in Theoni Zervas scooted a pass across the middle and into the possession of Iztel Ballesteros for the 2-0 lead.
Ballesteros’ forward mate, Jessica Cravero, found the back of the net two minutes later when Daisy Drake sent a cross from the right, finding her for the bang-bang score off the top crossbar in the 39th minute.
The Lady Railsplitters out-shot the Hawks 12-2 in the first half and 19-4 for the full 90 minutes, while LMU had 10 corner kicks compared to Chowan’s one.
LMU’s 3-nil halftime lead doubled as Taylor continued her career performance, scoring a pair of goals — assisted by Graciela Palencia and Mikayla Vang, respectively — for the hat trick after she netted her first career goal in the first half.
“So happy for Rachel, she’s worked so hard to add goals to her game,” Fraser said, “and with the last couple of games of last spring and then into preseason, her hard work started to bear fruit! Today’s goals are simple a byproduct of her hard work and persistence.”
Newcomer Lauren Woodcock capped off the six-goal outing in attractive fashion as she blasted a goal from 25-plus yards out, squeezing it in just below the top crossbar for the dominant season-opening road victory.
Stay tuned to LMURailsplitters.com, as well as LMU’s social media platforms —@LMURailsplitter on Twitter, @LMURailsplitters on Facebook and @lmurailsplitters on Instagram — for complete coverage of Lady Railsplitter soccer through the 2019 season.