USC Beaufort

Growing pains evident from start for Sand Sharks

Ed Herberling saw mistakes, mental lapses and timid play, all mixed in with a few bright spots. He attributed the inconsistency to growing pains.

The first of many, he suspects.

The USC-Beaufort women's soccer program lost its inaugural game Sunday afternoon, a 1-0 defeat to Sun Conference opponent Ave Maria at Fin Land Field in Bluffton.

The Sand Sharks put five shots on goal in the second half in a late comeback attempt -- after getting zero shots in a lackluster opening half -- but Gyrenes goalie Jackie Gonzalez stoned them all to record the shutout.

"I felt like we came out a little flat and a little slow," said Heberling, USCB's first-year coach. "... I thought we played much better in the second half. In terms of play, I thought we actually won the half."

Ave Maria, though, came up with the game's lone goal 10 minutes after halftime. Raquel Ledesma found Morgan Collins on a crossing pass, and Collins ripped a shot past Sand Sharks keeper Krystan Gallman. It was Ave Maria's only shot of the half.

The Gryenes (1-1) earned their first win of the year after dropping their opener Friday night.

"We had a minute of pure bliss after we scored, but they got back to playing," Gonzalez said. "They came back on us hungry to tie it, but you have to be just as hungry and fight just as hard after you get (the goal), if not harder."

After a relaxing 45 minutes in the opening half, Gonzalez was at the center of the action after the break.

The Sand Sharks controlled the ball for the majority of the half and nearly scored twice. Caroline Weldon tried to sneak a ball inside the near post, but Gonzalez barely got her hands on it before it snuck past the goal line. And just five minutes after Collins' goal, USCB forward Chelsie Mummert headed a corner kick off the post.

"In the second half, we really picked it up, and you saw us fighting more," Sand Sharks midfielder Kre Voight said. "I was expecting more of that the entire game."

The Sand Sharks (0-1) won't have to wait long for another shot at the program's first win. They host Siena Heights at noon today. Siena Heights dropped its opener, 1-0, to Savannah College of Art and Design on Saturday night.

"We just had a pep talk, and I think we're ready to play," Voight said. "We need to come out with the anger we have now, play the ball on the ground more and come out harder."

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