From Point Park University Athletic Department report / Kevin Taylor
PITTSBURGH — NAIA No. 1-ranked Spring Arbor (Mich.) provided a very stiff test for Point Park University women’s soccer in its home and season opener on Saturday night at Highmark Stadium. The Cougars pulled away in the latter part of the first half on their way to a 7-1 victory over the Pioneers.
Spring Arbor (2-0), which was the NAIA national champion in 2017 and 2015, turned a 1-0 lead into a 4-0 advantage to take control in a key, eight-minute stretch of the first half. The Cougars got on the board early when Lexi Ponstein’s corner-kick attempt curved into the goal at 2:09.
Point Park (0-1) stayed within a goal until the 21st minute, when Ponstein struck again after a nice cross from Morgan Marshall to the 6-yard line. Less than a minute later, NAIA Player of the Year Bethany Balcer scored off another assist from Marshall to make it 3-0. Marshall scored a goal of her own in the 29th minute to stretch it out to 4-0.
Spring Arbor was up 5-0 at the half thanks to a late goal from Balcer. After halftime, Point Park got a positive sign when a penalty in the box allowed for Chloe Bowser‘s PK attempt. She buried it a 45:30 to get back within four. That stood as the only goal of the second half until the Cougars pushed out the final margin to 7-1 with two goals in the final 10:30 of the game.
Balcer scored the sixth goal for Spring Arbor, her third of the night. The Cougars kept testing the Point Park defense for the entire 90 minutes. Pioneers’ goalkeeper Ashtyn Webb was busy with 11 saves, eight of which came in the second half as the attack continued.
Point Park plays its next game Tuesday at Siena Heights (Mich.) with a 6 p.m. ET kickoff in Adrian, Mich. The next home game for the Pioneers is Friday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. versus Lourdes (Ohio). Follow the Pioneers all season long at PointParkSports.com and on social media @PointParkSports.