Contact: Greg Murphy
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Cleveland State scored three first half goals to rally from an early deficit and post a 4-1 win over Francis Marion on Senior Day on Saturday afternoon at Krenzler Field.
The Vikings improved to 5-8 this season, while Francis Marion slipped to 5-7-1 overall. CSU's victory came on Senior Day after the Vikings five seniors - Jaime Avona, Carla Ragone, Valerie Stahl, Rachel Strongoli and Valerie Stahl - were honored in a pre-match ceremony.
It was only fitting that the seniors played a large role in today's win, led by Avona's goal and assist. Zawie added an assist, while Stahl and Ragone led CSU's back line which allowed just one early goal.
Things did not get off to a good start for CSU as Kelly Kady gave the Patriots a quick 1-0 lead just two minutes into the contest when she took a pass from Dominique Evans, beat her defender and sent a shot to the far post for a goal.
But it didn't take long for the Vikings to respond as CSU tied the match at 1-1 in the 13th minute on Shea Levi's first goal of the season.
Zawie started the play by sending a through ball toward the goal which Levi was able to control after beating the Patriot offsides trap. Levi was able to get around the Francis Marion goalkeeper and send a shot on an open net for the tally.
The Vikings took the lead at the 31:06 mark when Avona scored her fifth goal of the season off a corner kick from Jackie Kurgan. The goal allowed Avona to move into a tie for the team lead with five goals with Vickie Havas. The duo is also tied for second in the Horizon League with five goals.
It was also Avona's second game-winning goal in as many games with both coming off corner kicks. She scored the game-winner in double overtime in Wednesday's 1-0 win over Green Bay.
The Vikings extended their lead to 3-1 in the 36th minute on Kelcey Fischer's second goal of the season. Fischer took a pass from Avona going toward goal and beat the keeper to the left post.
Brittany Koester added her first career goal off an assist from Taylor Vidovic just eight minutes into the second half to conclude the scoring.
CSU finished with an 11-7 advantage in shots, including eight on goal. Both teams attempted three corner kicks.
Sarah Wood made two saves to earn the win, while Taylor O'Berry posted four saves for the Patriots.
The Vikings are back in action on Wednesday (Oct. 10) when CSU travels to Youngstown State for a 7:00 p.m. contest.