Lions break losing streak

UNA midfielder Chloe Richards intercepts a pass intended for Chargers’ midfielder Melanie Mitchell.

The Lions ended a three-game slide with a 2-0 win at Christian Brothers Oct. 17 and a 4-2 decision at home Oct. 20 against local rivals UAH.

The wins came after a stretch of away games that proved to be particularly tough for UNA, dropping three in a row including a conference loss at Shorter Oct. 14.

“Before the game on Wednesday the team decided to have the attitude to just forget the three straight losses and go out and play hard and support each other for 90 minutes,” said coach Graham Winkworth.

The midweek win at CBU saw Chloe Roberts score the 89th goal of her career and Jennifer Osmond added another goal in the 66th minute before the game was called due to lightning in the area and a tornado warning being issued.

“Before the game on Wednesday, our confidence was down a bit, but it’s my job to help them get past that, go out and get a result,” Winkworth said. “Winning is a habit, but so is losing.”

Senior Nikki Brown said that they needed to avoid the “domino effect.”

“We knew we couldn’t dwell on the past results,” Brown said. “We refocused and went out there and got a result.”

The Lions hosted their first home game in two weeks Oct. 20 with a rivalry match against UAH. The first half was all UNA as they poured it on and built a 3-0 lead at the half. But the Chargers came back with two quick goals early in the second half and the momentum seemed to be swinging their direction.

UAH seemed to have scored the equalizer in the 74th minute off a corner kick. But it was disallowed when the referee called the Charger’s goal scorer offside. Two minutes later Chloe Richards smashed a left-footed shot into the corner to put the Lions up for good. Osmond, Jo Chubb and Abbey Hellem scored in the first half in the 4-2 win for the Lions.

“The first half against UAH was probably the best 45 minutes we’ve played this season,” Winkworth said. “We just really moved the ball around well and looked dangerous.”

Injuries have plagued the Lions this season, especially in the second half of the year. Freshman center back, Melanie Leonida, is currently out for the remainder of the season with a foot injury, though Winkworth said her return is possible. Roberts has seen limited playing time as of late due to a lingering injury, and Danielle Scanlon picked up a season-ending injury to her arm on Oct. 17.

“We’ve really been struggling with injuries this season, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Winkworth said. “It seems as though when we get one player back we lose another.”

Brown said it’s hard to watch a teammate suffer an injury.

“No matter how severe the injury is, it’s difficult to watch a teammate, a family member, get injured,” Brown said. “It’s almost as hard for us as it is for the player who gets injured, because we know how much it means for them to be out there playing.”

The Lions can still finish second in the GSC with a win at home Oct. 28 against Delta State at 2 p.m. as well as a loss from Valdosta State in one of their three remaining games.

“After the game (against UAH) we talked about what we can still accomplish this season,” Brown said. “We are very focused.”