Former Elizabethton standout Christine Hardin returned home to her high school stomping ground with an assist on Keri Harrison’s equalizing goal, but the Milligan College women’s soccer team was handed a 2-1 loss to Truett-McConnell College Wednesday night in an Appalachian Athletic Conference contest.
The match was played on the turf of Elizabethton High School’s Citizens Bank Stadium after heavy rain over the last two days made the conditions of Anglin Field unfavorable.
Milligan (2-6-1, 1-2-1 AAC) suffered its fourth single-goal loss of the season.
Harrison’s tying goal came in the 36th minute and was scored from the right side roughly 15 yards out. After Hardin’s first touch at the top of the penalty area brought TMC goalkeeper Lexi Kent out of position, Harrison curved one in to the near post, past the outstretched arm of Kent and over the head of a TMC defender.
It was Harrison’s first goal of the season and sixth of her career.
Harrison was part of an early goal-scoring opportunity for the Buffs when she started a sequence in the 12th minute that freed up freshman Madison Thomas whose shot was blocked for a corner kick. The ensuing corner was Milligan’s only one of the contest but was not the only set play to give the Buffs a good look at the back of the net.
Sami Joy had a couple of those opportunities, most notably a free kick she took in the 28th minute that found Ellery Allonier at the back post. Joy’s kick was just a touch high.
Truett-McConnell (6-4, 3-1 AAC) got the scoring going in the 15th minute on a goal from Meredith Mellard, and the Bears rounded it out with one from Jo Cooks in the 58th. Their first goal was scored following one of their six corner kicks of the night. After Katey Griggs gathered the crossing pass and missed her initial shot, Mellard took care of the rebound and scored in the crowded penalty area.
When TMC took the lead for good early in the second half, Cooks scored in a similar fashion, coming up with a loose ball that found its way through a crowd and allowed Cooks to score from close range.
Milligan keeper Charlotte Stephens continued her outstanding junior season with seven saves, including an acrobatic one in the 17th minute that kept it a single-goal game. Stephens’ seven saves brought her to 33 saves over the last four outings and 54 for the season, for which she currently leads the conference.
Milligan is slated to be back home to Anglin Field on Saturday, Oct. 3, for a conference matchup with Point University. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. with the men’s game to follow at 3 p.m. Only two more home matches are on the regular-season schedule after Point.