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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn soccer opens spring season with win

Auburn Soccer opened its five-game spring season with a 2-0 victory against Jacksonville State on Saturday afternoon.

This exhibition game was played in three 30-minute periods with a 10-minute break in between each. Auburn’s roster remained the same with the addition of three newcomers: Rory Schank, Ayana Yapo as well as transfer Shelby Sallee. Each period new players were subbed in and out.

Auburn started the game strong with a goal in the early minutes of the first period. Mallory Mooney scored this goal in the first five minutes of the game, giving Auburn a lead that would last the entire game.

Mallory Mooney celebrates her goal against JSU on February 24th 2024

Freshman Ayana Yapo also got her first shot at goalkeeper during this period, where she had her first unofficial save. 

Auburn was leading in possession through the entire first period. The Tigers’ possession percentage was up 61%, compared to the Gamecocks' 39%. Auburn's defense dominated in the midfield, limiting Jacksonville State's opportunities at the goal. However, Auburn's offense was not as aggressive as the defense, missing a few open opportunities as well. 

Towards the end of the first period, Jacksonville State had a few possessions that made it through Auburn's defense. Despite this, Auburn ended the period with a 1-0 lead.

At the start of the second period, Auburn began moving the ball around better. Possession across the field was pretty equal on both sides, but Jacksonville State could not keep up with the fast pace that Auburn was beginning to play with. Auburn’s Olivia Woodson put up back-to-back shots with a few fast breaks, but none were successful. 

Auburn goalkeeper Taylor Richards was communicating well from the goal area. With 15 minutes left in the half, Jacksonville State took a shot that could have tied the game if it weren’t for Richards' save. This then led into two shot attempts for Auburn, shifting the momentum in its favor. 

For the most part, Auburn and Jacksonville State were equally matched during the second period. Auburn had six shot attempts with possession 55% of the time, while Jacksonville had five shot attempts with possession 45% of the time. 

Auburn made its final substitutions for the third period, where Becky Contreras, who was named player of the game, took control of the field. With 12 minutes left in the game, Sydnie Thibodaux served the ball to Contreras for a free kick, which ended in a second goal for the Tigers. This led to a Tigers' 2-0 finish against Jacksonville State. 

Contrreras ended the game with one goal and one assist.

Auburn soccer will participate in five exhibition games this spring. The next game will take place on March 16 at 1 p.m. CST against South Alabama, at the Auburn Soccer complex. 

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Madelyn Marsh | Sports Writer

Madelyn Marsh is a freshman from Castroville, Texas, who is majoring in journalism. She joined The Plainsman in fall 2023.

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