CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's soccer team, without a true keeper in goal, fell 5-0 to Georgia Southern Sunday afternoon at Eagle Field in a Southern Conference match. Chattanooga is now 2-5-1 overall and 0-2 in league action while the Eagles improve to 5-2-3 on the year and even out its conference record at 1-1.
Freshman Lauren Thomas (Germantown, Tenn.), the Mocs lone healthy keeper was pulled from the lineup after Friday's game with an injury. Senior defender Tayler Shelby (Chattanooga, Tenn.) stepped into the spot for UTC.
"We had three keepers at the start of the season," UTC Head Coach J.D. Kyzer said. "Now we have none. All the credit goes to Tayler. She had the guts to step in and that's not easy to do at the Division I level.
"Playing without your keeper is like all three of your quarterbacks going down in football and having to play with a defensive lineman back there."
Georgia Southern quickly picked up on the anomaly and started launching shots constantly. The Eagles outshot the Mocs 31-5 with 14 shots on goal to UTC's four.
Five different players scored for the Eagles with two in the first half and three in the second. GSU got onto the board in the 24th minute on a goal from Nora El-Shami who got past the defenders to take a shot from 22 yards out on the right. Just over two minutes later, the Eagles went up 2-0 on a header by Emily Hirano on a throw in by McKenna Storey to Alex Murphy.
Chattanooga's defense stepped up to hold off the Eagle offense for the remainder of the half and kept the score at 2-0 at the break.
"We played a low-pressure game in an effort to protect the keeper," Kyzer said. "While we weren't ok being behind 2-0 at the half, we felt it was something we could work with. This team we have right now is as good a team as we've had, but it's just not showing because of our injury situation."
Each team managed just one shot apiece in the first 15 minutes of the second half before GSU's found the net. Sydnie Van Curen played a free kick to the feet of teammate Stephanie Gratto who got the ball past Shelby.
The Eagles got goals from Courtney Collins in the 67th minute off a deflection and Carlee Storey recorded the fifth goal for Georgia Southern off a corner.
Senior Becca Smith (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and sophomore Crystal Mackezyk (Columbia, Tenn.) each had two shots for Chattanooga while Shelby pulled in nine saves in 90 minutes in goal.
The Mocs are without last year's keeper Taylor Mangrum (Franklin, Tenn.) and freshman Lauren Pruitt (Chattanooga, Tenn.) who are sidelined with injuries.
The Mocs return home for the first time since August 31 to take on Wofford Thursday evening at 6 p.m at Finley Stadium. Admission is FREE to all home soccer games. If you are unable to attend, live stats and video streaming will be available at GoMocs.com, the official website of Chattanooga athletics.