First half goals from junior defender Kendall Ballotti and freshman striker Tori Baliatico helped the Elon University women's soccer team wrap up nonconference play and bounce back from Sunday’s loss vs JMU with a 2-0 victory against South Carolina State University Thursday night at Rudd Field.
Senior goalkeeper Taylor Mohr was able to record her second shutout of the season, coming up with four big saves to help her team keep the lead in her second consecutive start.
“I love getting a shutout,” Mohr said. “It’s the best feeling in the world, other than a big save. Obviously, it means a lot to the team, but it means something entirely different to a goalkeeper.”
Elon seemed the dominant force in the first half with six total shots, scoring two goals off crosses in a span of 17 minutes. Head coach Chris Neal believed that the players in his starting lineup were imperative in the team’s success.
“The starting group came out and got business taken care of in the first thirty minutes,” Neal said. “We took a two-nil lead and that won the game for us.”
The first of two goals was scored by Ballotti, who received a corner kick at the back post and found the back of the net. This was Ballotti’s second goal of the season, and first since her dramatic game-winner in double-overtime against Towson last week. Coach Neal was in high praise of the senior defender after the match.
“Kendall is a really tough kid — she’s one of the toughest, if not the toughest, kids I’ve coached,” Neal said. “She’s a real threat on set-pieces. She has an, ‘I won’t be denied’ mentality.”
The Phoenix struck again 13 minutes later, this time by the feet of Baliatico. A beautiful cross from redshirt sophomore defender Amanda Lasater found Baliatico just outside the six-yard box, and she was able to hit it first time past SCSU’s keeper and increase Elon’s lead to 2-0.
“It hit off the side of my leg, but it also hit off [a Bulldog player's] leg,” Baliatico said. “The power of both of our legs kinda pushed it into the goal.”
As the Phoenix prepare to play five of its final seven matches of the season away from home, Neal hopes his team can keep its focus.
“Nothing you do at home prepares you for a road stretch,” Neal said. “When you’re on the road, anything can happen. It takes toughness - mental and physical toughness.”
Towards the end of the match a SCSU player sustained an injury and was tended to both by on-site trainers, and a team of local medical personnel who transported her elsewhere for further treatment.
This win improves Elon’s record to 6-5-1 overall and 2-1-0 in CAA play as they look forward to facing the College of William & Mary away from home on Sunday at 2:00pm.