The Francis Marion women’s soccer team fell to the Charlotte 49’ers on Sunday, Sept. 26, in a game overshadowed by rain and marked by missed chances and near goals.
The lone goal scored in the game came when Charlotte’s junior attacking midfielder, Macky Wingo, capitalized on assistance from teammates Megan Minnix, a senior defensive midfielder, and Oni Bernard, a junior forward, in the 20th minute. Wingo came close to another goal with a shot early in the second half. The shot would have put the ball in just under the crossbar, but the goal was denied by FMU junior goalkeeper Lauren Vetock. The near goal followed an attempt by Wingo less than a minute earlier.
“She should have scored two!” Buck Wingo, Macky Wingo’s father, said.
The uncooperative weather did not keep FMU fans from coming out to support their team; many arrived with umbrellas, and others braved even the downpours to watch the game. Besides rallying for the home team, they also impressed Charlotte fans. Jeff Mulloy, father of Charlotte freshman defending midfielder Brooke Mulloy, commended FMU on the atmosphere and the Patriots’ performance.
“[It was a] fantastic game,” Mulloy said. “Very hospitable crowd here. Francis Marion represented well.”
Despite FMU’s loss, its second in two consecutive games and third for this season, the players did not express any discouragement. Senior player Adriana Osorio, an attacking midfielder from Florence, saw the game as a learning experience.
“It wasn’t a big issue,” Osorio said. “We actually played very well. We’re progressing as a team.”
FMU went on to score one for the community, as FMU hosted the Florence Soccer Association’s (FSA) girls travel teams for FSA Girls Day. The girls formed two teams and played against each other during halftime, and met with the FMU women’s players for pictures and autographs after the game.
FSA coach Nicole Abbot explained FSA Girls Day, an event that has been held at FMU in the past.
“All the girls teams were invited to come out and play a little game at half-time, and after the game get a chance to meet the players, and take pictures and get autographs,” Abbot said. “This was actually the only day where FMU had a home game and none of the girls had any games to play, so that’s why we picked it.”
In the beginning of the season, Abbott contacted the director of FSA, who worked with FMU to arrange this year’s event.
Leah Abbott, an FSA player, participated in the Girl’s Day event. She not only played during the halftime game, but also worked as a ball girl for the Patriots-49ers game.
“I enjoyed it,” Abbott said. “Even though it was raining, it was a good experience. I enjoyed it.”
Sophomore FMU player Kelly Kady, a fullback from Huntington, MD, thought the event was positive for FMU as well as FSA players.
“I think it’s great that the girls from the community get to come out to see what we’re about here, because one day they’re going to be hopefully playing here in our shoes, and see what it’s like,” Kady said. “It’s just great to see them be able to come out to see how we play, and it’s good for us too, to be a part of the community and see what everything’s about.”
Kady was one of the FMU players who signed autographs and talked with the FSA girls after the game in the University Center, but did not play in the game. She tore her left ACL in the Patriot-Jacksonville game earlier this season, and supported the Patriots during Sunday’s game from the sidelines with her leg in a brace. After surgery and a six to eight month recovery period, she expects to resume playing next fall for her junior year.