2004 women’s soccer team season Article Archive

The Beginning of an Era – July 29, 2004

Carrollton, Ga. – July 29, 2004 –It’s the dawn of a new era at West Georgia, and the Braves have the perfect man in place to make things happen. Women’s soccer debuts at West Georgia in the fall of 2004 with Gareth O’Sullivan at the helm.

O’Sullivan comes to West Georgia after an impressive run at Christian Brothers University that included a national title and a national runner-up finish.

To kick things off, O’Sullivan has a solid unit for 2004, led by international players Alex Udin, Solla Thorarinsdottir and Jackie Mulligan, as well as local product Anna Watson. Udin and Thorarinsdottir have national team experience in their native Sweden and Iceland, while Mulligan played college soccer in Ireland. Villa Rica native Watson wil be counted on heavily for offensive support.

In goal, O’Sullivan has brought in a goalie who is no stranger to the Gulf South Conference. Lindsey Kertes was one of the top goalkeepers in the conference two years ago with Harding University . After a year’s hiatus, Kertes is back in the GSC with the Braves, looking to lead the Braves into the postseason very quickly.

As with any team, there will be a feeling out process. The coach will have to get used to his players and vice versa. That process starts next week with reporting day on August 8. The season opens on August 27 against Florida Tech. The home schedule begins with Harding on September 3.

Braves Fall to Florida Tech in Opener

Melbourne, Fla. – August 27, 2004 – Success almost never comes overnight. The first West Georgia women’s soccer team took the field Friday afternoon to face off against Florida Tech University. Head coach Gareth O’Sullivan and his girls learned at least one thing in a lopsided 5-0 loss, things won’t come easy.

Florida Tech came out firing on all cylinders, building a 4-0 lead and coasting through the finish.

“We’re very young right now,” O’Sullivan said. “It will take some time for us to get better.”

Freshman goalkeeper Lindsey Wright, is getting a trial by fire in goal for the Braves. She allowed five goals on the day and had seven saves.

But West Georgia also struggled on the offensive side of the ball, managing just one shot on goal on the afternoon, a blast from Jackie Mulligan in the second period.

The Braves face Lynn University Saturday at 1 p.m.

First goal in UWG soccer history comes in loss to Lynn – August 29, 2004

Winter Park, FL – August 29, 2004 – There aren’t too many good things that come from a loss. But, for midfielder Alex Udin, the Braves loss Sunday sent her into the West Georgia record books as the first woman to score a goal in a soccer game for UWG.

The historic goal came in the 66th minute of the game with Lynn Unversity leading the Braves 1-0. On a corner kick, Melissa Hastillo took the kick and lofted the ball towards the goal. Udin closed the deal with a goal and a tie at 1-1.

Lynn added three goals in the waning minutes of the game to hand the Braves their second loss of the season, 4-1.

Harding spoils home opener – September 3, 2004

Carrollton, Ga. – September 3, 2004 –The West Georgia Braves home season opened Friday with a heartwrenching loss to future GSC rival Harding, 4-0.

The Braves were led on the day in shots by Jackie Mulligan, who got off three shots on the day, but Harding keeper Cheryl Dovichak was right on each of them.

Lindsey Wright was good in goal, stopping 10 of the Bisons’ shots, but the more experienced Harding squad still had four cross the line.

Krystal Washburn kicked off the scoring with an unassisted goal midway through the first half. She weaved through the UWG defense, scoring from just a few yards out. Washburn added two more goals to lead the Bisons on the day.

Next up for West Georgia is another Gulf South Conference opponent, as North Alabama comes to Carrollton on Monday at 4 p.m.

UNA invades Carrollton, downs Braves – September 9, 2004

Carrollton, Ga. – September 6, 2004 –Stephanie Giles reached another West Georgia milestone Monday, scoring the Braves first home goal ever. But, it wasn’t enough against the North Alabama Lions, who beat UWG 3-1.

The game was hurried, with Tropical storm Frances bearing down on the west Georgia area, but the Braves put up a valiant effort in the swirling wind.

The Lions opened the scoring in the 10th minute, with a goal from Cheryl Canavan placed just past a diving Lindsey Kertes. UNA added to that total 16 minutes later with an unassisted breakaway goal from Emily Cotham.

After three more minutes of action, the Braves’ first home goal ever came from a corner kick at the 29:30 mark. Melissa Hastillo lofted the ball towards the mouth of the goal, followed by Giles directing it into the net to pull within a goal at 2-1.

Cotham added another goal for the Lions in the second period to close out the scoring on the afternoon. The Braves took a step forward in the game, taking 10 shots in the contest.

Next up for West Georgia is a matchup this Friday with Barry at 4 PM, followed by a Sunday matchup with Rollins at noon.

Women’s Athletic Spotlight – Alex Udin

Carrollton, Ga. – September 8, 2004 – Being the new kid on the block is tough no matter what stage of life. Whether it be a new school, new job, new neighborhood, new team or a new country, whatever the circumstance is, adjusting is a necessity. Well, for freshmen midfielder, Alex Udin she knows first hand how all that feels.

Udin is one of 18 young women that make up West Georgia’s Lady Braves inaugural soccer team. Udin is from Nykoping, Sweden, where soccer has been apart of her life since she was six years old. Udin has been living away from her parents, Rolf and Cecily Udin, for the past four years in Sweden. She will see them again during Christmas break. Luckily, Udin has found a family here with her fellow Lady Braves.

Udin brings international experience to the team, something few other UWG players have. Udin played for the Under-16 and Under-18 Swedish National Teams and was Most Valuable Player in 2003. “Soccer in America is a lot more physical than what I’m use to in Sweden, and penalties are not called as strict by officials here,” Udin explained .

Udin arrived in Carrollton on August 7th and the first game was August 27th. That gave the team between two and three weeks to mold and become one as a team. Not likely to happen when none of these girls have played together before.

“I played for four years with the same girls. We knew each others strengths and weaknesses. Also, we knew where each other was going to be on the field at anytime during the game. If I were advancing up the left side and trapped by the defenders I knew I could cross the ball to the top of the box without even have to look for my forward, because I knew she would be there. We don’t have that yet, and that is understandable,” Udin stated about the slow start, “This is a building year and I think we all realize that, now it is frustrating at times, since we are 0-4, injuries have plagued us at times, and we don‚t look like a team at key moments in the game, but in a year or two no one will want to look at their schedule and ! see the West Georgia Lady Braves on there. We will be a force to be reckoned with!”

Udin is a biology major, which is just another way of showing how hard of a worker she is. Udin would love to play on the Swedish National team someday or even play in the Women’s Professional League in the U.S. if started up again. If playing does not work out, coaching is something she would also enjoy doing, also being a trainer would be something of interest for Udin.

Udin has many goals for the team this season that she would love to see accomplished. “Play the way I know we are capable of for an entire game, win a game just for a confidence booster, and score in every game this rest of the season.”

Scoring is important and Udin is written in the West Georgia history books as the first player to score a goal for the Lady Braves soccer team or better yet first player to score a goal for West Georgia soccer. “It was so exciting. Everyone kept congratulating me. It‚s really funny because Jackie (Mulligan) is one of our forwards and is going to be a top scorer and we all thought she was going to score first and I was looking for her, but I couldn‚t find her and it just went in,” Udin said about the historic first goal.

The Lady Braves soccer team is off to a less than glamorous inaugural start, but with players like Alex Udin on the team and recruits like her in the horizon this team will be in the spotlight sooner than they think.

Buccaneers outmatch Braves in Carrollton

Carrollton, Ga. – September 10, 2004 – It’s never easy playing the fourth-ranked team in the nation during a team’s first season of play. In the fifth game of the inaugural season Friday, the West Georgia Braves took on No. 4 Barry, falling 4-0 to the soccer powerhouse.

The Braves took a defensive strategy in the match, pulling speedster Jackie Mulligan from the front line and putting her on the back line. The offensively powerful Buccaneers took advantage of the strategy, taking 22 shots on the afternoon.

The first two goals of the match came in the first half, both by Barry forward Tina Saario. Saario took the first in unassisted, the second came on an assist from Rakel Thjome

In the second half, the Buccaneer offense continued to attack, but the Braves’ defense in the goal mouth was solid. The two second half goals came from outside the 18-yard box, one on a free kick and the other on a defensive mix-up.

West Georgia goalkeeper Lindsey Wright had four saves in the loss. The Braves move to 0-5 on the season, with Rollins College coming to town Sunday for a noon match.

UWG comeback effort stopped in final minute

Carrollton, Ga. – September 12, 2004 – Sunday’s soccer match between West Georgia and Rollins was a tale of two halves. The Braves played defense in the first half, taking just two shots. But in the second half, UWG turned on the offensive jets, scoring a goal and coming close in the final minute as the Tars prevailed, 2-1.

The game started slowly with most of the action hanging close to midfield. Rollins got through the stingy West Georgia defense for several shots, but nothing squirted through in the mouth of the goal.

With 16 minutes gone in the game, Rollins midfielder Jordan Ward blasted a shot from outside of the 18-yard box, hitting the back of the net for the first score of the game.

The game remained a stalemate for the next 53 minutes of action, with both teams getting shots, but nothing coming out of them. That is, until the 69th minute, when Jacquelyn Parsons’ shot deflected off of UWG sweeper Stephanie Giles’ foot and into the goal for a 2-0 lead for the Tars.

But, the Braves came right back, getting a foul called on Rollins at midfield. Giles took the free kick, lofting the ball into the middle of a crowd just inside the box. Alex Udin suddenly appeared, taking the hard-hit ball off of her head. The ball shot straight up, and fell just between the bar and Rollins goalie Francesca Nicoloso’s hands for a goal with 17 1/2 minutes left.

The Braves continued to put the pressure on, using Jackie Mulligan’s speed to get behind the Tars’ defense. With just under a minute left, Mulligan was fouled near the west sideline, bringing up a free kick from just outside the box. Melissa Hastillo lofted the ball up, and Giles put her head to it, but the ball went wide left.

The Braves took six shots on the afternoon, compared to the Tars’ 20. UWG keeper Lindsey Wright had 10 saves in the match. Udin’s goal was her second of the season. For Ward and Parsons, the goal was the first of 2004 for both. The Braves next action is Tuesday at Shorter.

Braves tie with Shorter

Carrollton, Ga. – September 14, 2004 – It is all about baby steps for the Inaugural West Georgia women’s soccer squad. Tonight, in Rome, the Braves took another step in the right direction, walking away from a field without being on the losing end of a score for the first time ever. Down 2-0 at halftime, West Georgia turned on the offensive pressure in the second half, using two goals from Alex Udin to tie Shorter 2-2.

The game started off slowly on the offensive side of the ball for the Braves, as UWG failed to score in the first half. The same was not true for Shorter, which netted two goals in the opening period. The second came with just seconds remaining in the half.

In the second half, West Georgia remained goal-less for nearly 15 minutes, until Udin blasted her first goal of the night around the 62 minute mark. The game-tying goal came with little time to spare, as Udin scored in the 85th minute.

The two squads played to a stalemate in the extra period, with the game ending in a tie.

The Braves played well on both ends of the field, allowing just eight shots on the night while taking 15.

Next up for West Georgia is a trip to Milledgeville on Saturday to face Georgia College and State University.

Braves taken down by Columbus

Carrollton, Ga. – September 22, 2004 – It was the battle of the first year programs in Carrollton Tuesday, with the Columbus State Cougars spoiling the West Georgia Braves’ bid for its first win of the season, 4-0.

The Cougars outshot West Georgia 23-4 on the afternoon, with the first goal coming on a sideways kick from Erin Schmitz in the 13th minute.

The Braves had chances to put the ball into the net, but the stiff Columbus defense was there to ensure the shutout. UWG has scored five goals on the season, four by midfielder Alex Udin

West Georgia keeper Lindsey Wright continued to improve her play in goal, collecting 10 saves on the afternoon.

Next up for West Georgia: The Braves travel Thursday to Faulkner to face another first year squad.

Women’s Athletic Spotlight – Stephanie Giles

Carrollton, Ga. – September 23, 2004 – The last line of defense.

A phrase commonly heard among military talk, and seldom spoke of elsewhere. However, freshmen sweeper Stephanie Giles is just that for the West Georgia Braves women’s soccer team. Giles is the last thing an attacking opponent sees before that goal comes into clear view.

“Being a sweeper is a lot of pressure, especially on such a young team that is still coming together,” Giles said. “Plus, being a co-captain adds pressure to it, since captains are held in such high regard on any sports team as a leader that knows what to do in every situation.”

“Stephanie is a leader in a backfield that continues to grow as a unit,” head coach Gareth O’Sullivan said. “But she is also growing as a player which in return helps the team to grow.”

Giles and O’Sullivan were no strangers on reporting day, as the freshman played for West Georgia’s head coach on the Silverbacks, an elite team out of Atlanta, this past summer.

“I have a slight edge over the other girls, because I know what he expects, but that also puts a little more pressure on me,” Giles said. “Coach O’Sullivan knows what I am already capable of and anything less than my best is unacceptable.”

In a season full of firsts for the young West Georgia soccer program, Giles had one of those firsts on September 6 against North Alabama. As teammate Melissa Hastillo’s corner kick sailed through the air, Giles jumped up and headed the ball into the net for the Braves’ first goal scored at home.

“It was exciting and a little surprising since I play defense, and Alex (Udin) had scored every goal up to that point,” Giles said. “Also, a big relief so that the team could get that out of our heads and focus on winning.”

When a person thinks of women’s soccer in America, the name Mia Hamm is synonymous with that sport. But, if you ask most girls that look up to her, they do it only because she is Mia Hamm. Giles has a different look at the legend.

“Mia Hamm is the one player I model myself after,” Giles said. “She plays so hard no matter who she is facing, and she leaves everything on the field, which is something I try to do every game.”

Off the field Giles enjoys spending time with her teammates singing karaoke, and for at least for a while not worry about soccer.

“I would love to see us win a game this season, but if we could just come together as a team on the field, and not let down and get frustrated all the time, I would be very happy with our first season,” Giles said.

Giles might be the last line of defense for the Braves, but she assures that the teams on the schedule next year better have a top of the line defense, because, “This team is going after a championship next year, be sure of that.”


Carrollton, Ga. – September 23, 2004 – The date of September 23, 2004 is one that will go down in the history books for West Georgia athletics as the first win ever for UWG women’s soccer. The Braves pummeled the home-standing Faulkner Lady Eagles 9-0.

“It’s official, we now have a win,” said head coach Gareth O’Sullivan. “It’s really big for our young team to get some confidence with a win like this.”

The Braves opened up the game scoring at will, with Jackie Mulligan kicking things off with the first goal, her first of three on the afternoon. Soon thereafter, Brooke Carpenter added to the lead with a goal, followed by a pair of goals from Alex Udin before the halftime whistle.

The pressure kept pouring on the outmatched Eagles, as West Georgia added four more goals in the second half to seal the deal.

Scoring-wise, Mulligan led the way with three goals, followed by two goals each from Carpenter and Udin. Stephanie Giles netted her second goal of the season and Brianna Frink also got in on the action with a goal.

Next up for the Braves is a trip to Kennesaw State on Saturday for a match with the defending national champions.

Braves blanked by Owls

Kennesaw, Ga. – September 25, 2004 – It’s not easy playing the top-ranked team in the nation, especially for a first-year program. The West Georgia Braves were in that position Saturday night, falling to the defending national champion Kennesaw Owls, 9-0.

The Owls opened the match with two goals in the first 10 minutes, one from star Laura Tucker (4:40) and the other from Sara Clapham (6:17). Tucker added another goal before the half, where Kennesaw led 4-0.

West Georgia managed just three shots on the night, all in the second half. One from Jackie Mulligan, another from Alex Udin and the final shot off the foot of Monica Knittel

Next up for UWG is a home battle with North Georgia next Monday afternoon at 4:00 PM.

Comeback comes up just short

Carrollton, Ga. – October 4, 2004 – The West Georgia Braves fell behind 3-0 Monday afternoon to North Georgia. But, instead of laying down, the Braves scratched back within striking distance at 3-2 in the final minute before falling 4-2 to the North Georgia Lady Saints.

The Lady Saints opened up the scoring early in the match with a goal in the 10th minute from Brittny Peck. 14 minutes later, NGCSU keeper Kelly Conarro boomed a punt over the heads of the Brave defenders, putting Jessica Williams one-on-one with UWG keeper Lindsey Wright. Williams promptly placed the ball into the net for a 2-0 lead.

Williams added another goal 12 minutes later before the Braves mounted a comeback. Alex Udin, West Georgia’s leading scorer on the season, deked two Saints before pounding the ball into the back of the net just before halftime.

With a 3-1 defecit, the Braves played inspired soccer in the second half. Brooke Carpenter starting in place of Jackie Mulligan, took five of the Braves’ 11 shots in the game, most of those coming in the second half.

But Carpenter would help in other ways in this match. With just over eight minutes to play, the freshman collected the ball in the corner and crossed it to a waiting Ayesha Muwwakil, who drilled the ball to pull the Braves within a goal at 3-2.

In the final minutes, West Georgia had several opportunities, but North Georgia packed the defense in and wouldn’t budge. The Lady Saints added a goal late.

The Braves fall to 1-9-1 on the season with the loss. Next up is a match with Clayton State Wednesday night.

Braves take second win in SC

Carrollton, Ga. – October 20, 2004 – It’s been nearly a month since the West Georgia’s last win, and things have been close in several games since. Today the Braves came out on top in one of those close matches, beating North Greenville College on the road, 1-0.

Brooke Carpenter scored her third goal of the season for the only score of the afternoon. Alex Udin was in on the assist.

The Braves have three games left on their inaugural schedule. Next up is at Montevallo next Tuesday.

Braves hang close, fall 1-0 to Saint Leo

Carrollton, Ga. – October 15, 2004 – West Georgia soccer, after playing just one game over a three-week period due to several cancellations, hit the soccer field Friday afternoon itching to play. The Braves fell just short, 1-0 in the match.

Senior forward Caron Lumbra of Orlando, Fla., converted a penalty kick 12 minutes and six seconds into the match to provide Saint Leo University the non-conference women’s soccer victory the Braves (1-10-1) .

“We really played well, I can’t fault any of our girls, they played the best they have all year,” head coach Gareth O’Sullivan said. “Alex Udin played by far the best on the field and helped us control the tempo.”

Saint Leo was awarded the penalty kick when junior defender Kristin Stephens of Orlando, Fla., was taken down in the box. Lumbra booted the ball into the left corner of the net after Brave goalkeeper Lindsey Wright moved to her right. It was Lumbra’s third goal of the season.

The Braves take on Florida Southern Sunday in the second game of a three-game Florida swing.

Season closes with a win over Delta State

Cleveland, MS – November 5, 2004 – Forget about the record, forget about the disappointment that comes with a 2-14-1 season, because the West Georgia Braves finished out the season on a good note, demolishing the Delta State Lady Statesmen 6-1 Friday.

Freshman Alex Udin scored four goals in the first half, including two on assists from Stephanie Giles. The others came on assists from Jackie Mulligan and Brooke Carpenter

Before the first half horn sounded, Carpenter had extended the West Georgia lead to 5-0 with a goal on an assist from Melissa Hastillo

Udin followed in the second half with an unassisted goal to close out the scoring for the season.

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