Amy Howard made three saves for her 17th career shutout
Aug. 31, 2012
AUBURN, Ala. - Tori Ball and Tatiana Coleman each scored for the Auburn soccer team, which snapped its two-match losing skid with a 2-0 blanking of Samford on Friday night. The win moved Auburn's record to 3-2-0 while Samford fell to 0-3-0.
Ball, who had netted five game-winners on six goals in her career coming into the match, added another on Friday night, striking a free kick from 40 yards out for what proved to be the difference-maker. Following a Samford foul in the ninth minute Ball, who has been starting on the back line, addressed the ball almost even with the top of the circle before launching a shot over Samford goalkeeper Melissa Montgomery's hands for the 1-0 Auburn lead.
"I didn't even know I could even kick it that far," Ball said. "(Associate Head Coach Amy Berbary) always says kick it to the runners path. I hit it straight to the keeper and she just happened to be off her line."
"To be honest both myself and Amy Berbary looked at each other and thought, `that's not the ball we wanted her to play.' That was our initial reaction but wow, what a great strike," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "We knew they were young in the goal and that was in the scouting report. Tori played a perfect ball right in there and we needed it. That goal really changed the first half."
Samford came out of the second half pressing, forcing Auburn goalkeeper Amy Howard into a handful of clutch saves. None was bigger than her diving stop with 26 minutes left and Auburn up just a single tally. Samford, which was controlling possession for a long stretch, had a pair of players bearing down on Howard, who came off her line to stop the first line of attack. The move almost backfired as Amanda Abbott found herself at point-blank range but her one-touch was swatted away by Howard, who had to dive to her right and back to make the save, ultimately preserving her 17th career shutout as she made three saves on eight Samford shots.
"This was a heck of a game. Samford always gives us a good game because we are in-state rivals," Howard said. "We stepped up to the challenge. We never gave up."
Coleman iced the game in the 77th minute with her first goal of the year, taking a Natalie Donaldson pass inside the box before striking a liner past Montgomery. The goal was the eighth of her career and first this season after tallying a team-high three assists in the first four games. She would finish the match with a team-high six shots, putting five on frame, as Auburn put 10 of its 17 shots on goal.
"It was hard going through four games with no goals," Coleman said. "To finally get one in, there is a tremendous weight off my shoulders; all the pressure is off."
"I hope this opens the flood gate (for Tatiana). I know she was feeling the pressure coming off a great freshman year. The goals just weren't falling for her, even tonight she had so many good looks," Hoppa said. "We were really happy she got one and hopefully that is one of many for this season."
Auburn returns to action on Sunday at noon when it plays host to William & Mary. Admission is free.
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