DECATUR, Ga.—Randolph's Marisa Santacruce (Chesapeake, Va.) broke a scoreless tie in the 49th minute and the Wildcats held off the host Scotties over the final 40 minutes to take a 1-0 season-opening victory. The Wildcats spoiled Agnes Scott's season opener for the second year in a row, but the game played much more even than Randolph's 4-1 triumph a season ago.
The Wildcats showed its fangs on offense for the first 20 minutes of regulation, consistently getting long passes up the middle of the Scottie defense and putting pressure on first-year keeper Victoria Cruz (Duncanville, Texas). Cruz played exceptionally well for the purple side and set the tone early as the rest of the young Scotties settled into the flow.
Randolph recorded six shots in the opening 11 minutes, rarely letting the ball get past the midfield line. Still, the Agnes Scott defense did what it needed to keep a tally off the scoreboard.
Slowly, but surely, Agnes' pace in the midfield and the offensive third began to find its footing. First-year Myah Johnson (Pepperell, Mass.) created several chances for the Scotties over the final 25 minutes of the first half, including a one-on-one dance with the keeper that was just clipped away from danger.
The Scotties looked poised to add the first goal of the contest in the 38th minute on a perfect corner ball from first-year Katey Choma (West Milford, N.J.). Choma curved the ball along the end line to the back corner of the net, forcing Zoe Waring (Chesapeake, Va.) to make a backpedaling save. The Randolph defender at the back post was able to clear the ball away before another Scottie could run onto it.
With the midday heat bearing down on both teams, a goal early in the second half would give one team a significant advantage.
Randolph threatened from the whistle when a breakdown left Sara Bane (Blue Ridge, Va.) wide open on the left side. Bane sent the ball past a diving Cruz, but it nicked the inside of the post and never crossed the end line before an Agnes defender tracked it down.
Just two minutes later the Wildcats were at it again with Bane as the ring leader. The forward got control of a pass 25 yards from the goal and sent an easy pass to open space on the left side. Santacroce received the pass with no defender in sight and made quick work of the play with a sliding shot to the bottom right corner.
Both teams wore down as the game drew on and Agnes Scott was never quite able to put together a perfect opportunity to find the equalizer.
Randolph held a 19-16 shot advantage in the game, although many for both teams came at a distance. Cruz and Waring each made eight saves for their side with the visiting sophomore keeper getting the clean sheet.
The Scotties have the rest of Labor Day Weekend to rest up before preparations for contests against USA South East Division opponents William Peace and Salem commence. The Scotties host the Pacers next Saturday at noon before playing the Spirits on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Randolph (1-0) heads down to Macon tomorrow to take on another USA South opponent, Wesleyan.