CORPUS CHRISTI – Freshman sensation Yvette Franco scored two more goals, but it was not enough for the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi women's soccer team, as it fell on the road at UNC Wilmington, 4-2. The teams were playing as a part of the Courtyard Marriott Wilmington Invitational.
Franco scored one goal in each half to give her seven in her debut season. Four different players scored for the Seahawks (2-5-0) in the win. Audrey Baldwin made nine saves in a losing effort for the Islanders (1-4-0).
"Overall, we played in spurts tonight," head coach Shanna Caldwell said. "When we were on, we were connecting passes and moving the ball. Our final ball was just not always on.
"I think this game gives us a fire heading into Sunday's game," she added. "We need to be better in the back and keep the ball in the midfield so that we don't wear our front runners out chasing. UNCW is a very athletic team and they work hard up top. They gave us a great game."
The Islanders found themselves in an early hole, as Stephanie Bronson put the Seahawks up 1-0 just 34 seconds into the game. Katrina Guillou sent a ball from the left side into the penalty area, and Bronson deposited it in the back of the goal for her second goal of the season.
UNCW doubled its advantage just under 10 minutes later. Natalie Winslow sent a long pass forward to a streaking Maddie McCormick, sending the sophomore in alone on Baldwin. McCormick was able to put it past the senior keeper for her second tally of the year, making it 2-0 Seahawks at the 10:09 mark.
But A&M-Corpus Christi was able to even play, thanks in part to a trio of saves by Baldwin. Then in the 31st minute, it was Franco once again. The freshman took the ball at the top of the 18-yard box, took a touch to the right, and blasted the ball into the twine from just outside the box to make it 2-1. It marked her sixth goal of the season, at the 30:32 mark.
The score remained that way until the 63rd minute, when Caroline McClain extended the lead for the Seahawks. McClain took the ball along the endline on the right side, cut to the center, and put the ball just inside the near post to make it 3-1. Then in the 72nd, Katie O'Donnell finished off a cross from Kennedy Ulrich to push the score to 4-1.
That's when Franco struck once more, trimming the lead to 4-2 at the 80:51 mark. The freshman took the ball the length of the field, then beat the keeper in the center of the frame for her third multi-goal game in the last four games. It marked her seventh goal in the last four.
The Islanders will remain in Wilmington, where they will face Elon on Sunday at noon in their final game of the Invitational. The Phoenix are currently 3-2-0 following a 4-3 loss at the hands of Longwood on Friday afternoon. Updates will be provided throughout the game on Twitter (@IslandersSoccer).