Alex Wetherholt gave University of Mount Olive an early lead and Jess Hickey added a pair of second-half goals as the Trojans rode a 34-shot attack to a 5-0 victory over Chowan University in non-conference women's soccer Sunday at Amon Field. The shutout win was the second in as many days for the Trojans.
Mount Olive (2-3-0) broke a scoreless tie in the 11th minute when Ellie Barnes' service from the right sideline found Lauren Power just inside the box, left of center. Power played the ball to her right to Wetherholt, who scored from 15 yards out at the 10:36 mark.
The Trojans outshot Chowan 18-0 in the first half, but had to settle for a 1-0 halftime lead, thanks in large part to Hawks goalkeeper Marissa Ghani. Ghani recorded six of her 11 saves in the first half, including a kick save on a 1v1 and a save she deflected off the crossbar.
In Saturday's match against Emmanuel, Mount Olive finished with a 23-5 shot advantage, but didn't get on the scoreboard until its final shot seven minutes into overtime.
"We never got discouraged even though the ball wasn't going in," said Wetherholt, a sophomore from Lothian, Md. "We know that as long as we keep creating opportunities, good things will happen."
Mount Olive kept a one-goal lead until the 60:08 mark when Niza Vera's goal opened the floodgates. Vera's first shot hit the right post, but bounced right back to her on the left side of the box, from where she shot into an open net. Hickey scored the first of her two goals nine minutes later when Jocelyn Yurchak's service led to a breakaway. Hickey struck again at 76:30 when Nicole Poppe's service led to a 1v1.
Hickey narrowly missed a hat trick when her header went just wide left off a cross from the right side by Maddy Robak. Poppe completed the scoring with a goal in the 86th minute off a long service by Rae Williams.
Chowan (0-5-0) nearly tied the match three minutes into the second half when Felice Hewitt took an 18-yard shot towards an open net. Trojan defender Sydney Nelson rushed in front of the goal to block the shot and preserve the shutout.
Wetherholt credits much of Mount Olive's success to a brutal early season schedule, which included matches against teams currently ranked No. 5 (Columbus State) and No. 12 (Catawba) in the NSCAA National Top 25 Poll.
"Those matches took a toll on us, but they definitely helped prepare us for conference play and the rest of the season," said Wetherholt.
Mount Olive plays its third home match in four days Tuesday as the Trojans play host to Converse in Conference Carolinas action. Match time is 7 p.m. at Amon Field.