Nichole Poppe's First Career Hat Trick Lifts Trojans Past Coker 3-0

Nichole Poppe's First Career Hat Trick Lifts Trojans Past Coker 3-0

Nichole Poppe provided all of the offense with her first career hat trick and Kelsey Cirrito recorded her first career shutout as University of Mount Olive defeated Coker College 3-0 in non-conference women's soccer Wednesday at Amon Field. The win was the Trojans' fourth in their last five home matches and in their last six overall.

Mount Olive (4-5-0) narrowly missed jumping out to an early lead after Poppe had two shots hit the post. She broke through at the 32:22 mark after a long service by Jocelyn Yurchak from beyond the midfield line. Poppe beat the defender to the ball in the box and found the back of the net to get the Trojans on the scoreboard.

The Trojans outshot Coker 12-2 in the first half, but had to settle for a 1-0 halftime lead.

Mount Olive clung to a one-goal lead until late in the match when Poppe dribbled through two defenders on the left side of the box and drilled the ball in the upper 90 to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead at 76:31.

Poppe completed her hat trick six minutes later after Niza Vera crossed from right of the box. The service went beyond Poppe, who caught up with the ball and eluded a defender in the box. Poppe's shot deflected off the bottom of the crossbar and went into the goal.

"I felt like I was playing well, but I wasn't expecting to get a hat trick," said Poppe, a sophomore who redshirted last year. She entered Wednesday's contest with one goal on the season. "Hopefully, I can continue the momentum from this match."

Coker (2-7-0) pressured during parts of the first half and throughout much of the second half as the Cobras recorded nine corner kicks. Mount Olive allowed only three shots off of corner kicks with Cirrito making saves on all three attempts.

The Trojans finished with a 24-12 shot advantage. Cirrito recorded seven saves for Mount Olive, while Lizz Morris had 11 saves for Coker.

Mount Olive resumes Conference Carolinas action Saturday as the Trojans travel to Banner Elk, N.C., to take on Lees-McRae. Both teams are part of a five-way tie for third place in the standings with a 2-1 conference mark. Match time is 3 p.m., followed by men's soccer vs. Lees-McRae at 5 p.m.