ROCK HILL, S.C. - Despite being whistled for 17 offside violations, the Winthrop Eagles saw five players combine for six goals and went on to defeat the VMI Keydets, 6-1, in Big South women's soccer action Thursday night in Rock Hill, S.C. Simone Jimenez scored the lone goal for VMI, notching her first of the year on a penalty kick in the final minute.
Krystyna Freda notched her eighth and ninth goals of the year to pace Winthrop (7-6-1, 4-2-1 Big South), while Jimenez scored on VMI's (1-12, 0-7 Big South) first penalty kick try of the season, as well as the first PK of the senior's career. Two WU goalkeepers combined to allow just that single goal, while Mackenzie Harrmann made eight saves before being relieved by Sarah McGinnis with 10:56 remaining. McGinnis did not see a shot attempt in her first collegiate action.
Four of the Eagles' 17 offside violations were whistled in the opening 7:45, and it was the Keydets who tried the first shot of the match at 9:56. Off a Liz Affronti corner, Jimenez got a head on the ball, but the try sailed wide right. Harrmann then stepped up over the next several minutes, as after making an 11th minute save against Freda, she did so again just 45 seconds later. This one, however, was a diving save by the freshman, keeping the Winthrop forward off the board and the match scoreless.
WU kept firing shots at Harrmann, and the freshman continued to respond, as she turned aside Freda with a point-blank save in the 18th minute and stopped Allie Vanderwater one minute later. In the 28th minute, however, the home team finally solved Harrmann for the game's first goal. A Freda shot was blocked by a Keydet defender, but the loose ball fell to the feet of Grace Radler, who tapped it home to put WU up, 1-0.
That margin grew to 2-0 in the 33rd minute, when Freda found Imani Ervins for her second goal of the year. The Keydets countered with one of their best chances of the night, as off a Bridgette Pouliot free kick, Courtney Mason was able to get off a header attempt. The ball sailed wide left, however, and the VMI scoring opportunity went by the board.
Winthrop would cap the first half scoring in the 37th minute, when Taylor Walton notched her first score of the year to make it a 3-0 contest.
In the first half, Winthrop held a 12-3 edge in shots, but Harrmann had made five saves to help the game stay within range despite two-thirds of the Eagle shots being on frame.
Much like in the first half, VMI came out well to open the second 45-minute period. The Keydets had two of the first three shots, with Killian Buckley being blocked on both occasions. From there, the game settled primarily into midfield play and there was just one shot on frame until the 66th minute, when Freda got on the board by beating Harrmann to push the margin to 4-0, WU.
Harrmann then turned aside Walton in the 67th minute, but Freda struck again in the 70th, as Walton played a ball to her from across the box. The shot from inside the six-yard box was good, pushing the home team's lead to 5-0.
The Eagles capped their scoring in the 72nd minute, when a push in the back inside of the box drew a penalty kick chance. Kylie Long took the try and sent it to the high portion of the net, to Harrmann's right, to give her team a 6-0 lead. The Keydets put a shot on goal in the 74th minute, which was stopped by Winthrop keeper Sarah Schippers, and Harrmann made a 79th minute save before being lifted for McGinnis. That would be the last save of the match.
As the contest slowed in the waning moments, Jimenez drew a foul inside the box and converted the resulting penalty kick with just 12 seconds remaining, accounting for the final margin, 6-1.
In the match, Harrmann was officially credited with eight saves, while Schippers made one save for WU in the second half. Neither McGinnis nor Amelia Henderson, Winthrop's starting goalie, recorded a save. Winthrop held a 24-7 edge in shots, while both teams attempted four corner kicks.
VMI women's soccer will return to action Sunday, taking on the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs in Boiling Springs, N.C. Game time is set for 1 p.m.