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LOCAL COLLEGE ROUNDUP: Willets posts career day as FMU women's soccer falls to Flagler

LOCAL COLLEGE ROUNDUP: Willets posts career day as FMU women's soccer falls to Flagler

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The Francis Marion University women’s soccer team fell to Flagler College 3-0 on Sunday despite a career day by sophomore goalkeeper Makayla Willets in Peach Belt Conference women’s soccer action.

FMU sees its record drop to 1–3, while the Saints, a NCAA Final Four squad last season, improve to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play. The Patriots will play host Georgia College on Monday, March 1, at 3 p.m. Attendance is limited to 250 and that includes only season ticket holders, FMU students with pre-acquired tickets, and player/staff family members identified on a pre-game ticket list. No walk-up game-day tickets will be sold.

The Saints outshot the Patriots 33-7, and led 10-6 in corner kicks. Senior midfielder Sarah Moll led the FMU with three shots, including one on target in the 70th minute. Junior forward Valentina Restrepo was next among the Patriots in shots taken with two, including one that required a diving save by senior goalkeeper Sarah-Lisa Dubel in the 31st minute.

Willets’s career-high 16 saves was only four shy of the school record of 20 set by Kristen Banach on Oct. 16, 1995, at Presbyterian College.

Flagler junior midfielder Chloe Byrne tallied the first of three goals for the Saints at the 13:26 mark following a cross into the 6-yard box from senior forward Annie Habeeb. The Patriots had a chance to get an equalizer in the 31:07 mark, following a give-and-go sequence with Restrepo just outside the 18-yard box.

The next Saints’ goal came just 39 seconds into the second half. Freshman forward Jess Leach received a ball from Habeeb and weaved through a pair of Patriot defenders before sending a shot to the top of the net, just out of Willets’ reach. This marked Habeeb’s second assist on the day.

An FMU foul in the box in the 69th minute allowed senior forward Maria Castorino-Mujica the opportunity to add to the Saints lead via a penalty kick. Willets guessed correctly, but Castorino-Mujica’s ball was just out of her reach.

Coker wrestling falls to Mount Olive

MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. - The Coker University wrestling team dropped its South Atlantic Conference Carolinas tilt Sunday at Mount Olive by a score of 31-19.

P.J. Wunderlich started things off with a 9-4 decision over Dylan Wilman at 149 pounds, before Mount Olive picked up an overtime win at 157 pounds to tie the match at 3-3. Corey Christie would pin Dimitri Naimi in 2:30 to put the Cobras ahead 9-3 at 165 pounds, before back-to-back Mount Olive wins put the Trojans ahead 13-9 headed to 197 pounds. Corey Perkins-Willett would win by fall over Jonathan Clack in 2:57 to put the Cobras up 15-13, before the Trojans would get a win by fall at 285 to go back on top 19-15. Mount Olive would get wins at 125 pounds and 133 pounds, before Zachary Van Alst would pick up a 13-4 major decision over Seth Thomas to close out the match.

The Cobras are back in action on Wednesday to host No. 11/20 Newberry for Senior Night. The action begins at 7:00 p.m. from the DeLoach Center, with video available at

Coker women's lacrosse edges St. Andrews

LAURINBURG, N.C. – The Coker University women's lacrosse team won its first game of the season against St. Andrews 15-14 on Sunday.

Junior goalkeeper Olivia Fladung also broke the program's single-game saves record in the victory.

Meagan Gallagher and Hannah Shuren each scored five goals to lead the Cobras, while Gabby Jessup also netted a hat trick in the win.

Fladung's 21 saves are both a career-high and a new single-game Coker record, passing the 18-save mark that Cassie Williams set back on Mar. 28, 2018 against Catawba.

The Cobras will be back in action on Mar. 3 when host Lenoir-Rhyne at 6 p.m. at the Coker Athletic Field. Video and live stats will be available at

Bulldogs edge FMU tennis twice 4-3

FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University men’s and women’s tennis team each lost a narrow 4-3 decision to Barton College on Sunday in non-conference action.

Both FMU squads will open Peach Belt Conference play on the road at Augusta University on Wednesday at noon. The Patriots will then host Chowan on Saturday at noon on the Kassab Courts.

In Sunday’s women’s match, Barton earned the doubles point by virtue of a marathon 7-6 (8-6 tiebreaker) win at the No. 1 spot. Earlier, junior Eva Zannier and freshman Nargiza Yakhyaeva captured a 6-1 win at the No. 2 position.

Francis Marion (1-3) quickly responded by taking a 2-1 lead after singles wins by freshman Viktoria Leth at No.2 (6-1, 6-2) and Zannier at No.3 (6-1, 6-4). However, the Bulldogs clinched the match with victories at positions No.1, 4, and 6.

FMU freshman Camryn Cassetori accounted for the final point with a 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 1-0 (10-5) win at No.5 singles.

After losing the first doubles decision (at No. 3), the Francis Marion men rallied to claim the doubles point with victories by senior William Anth-Forsberg and freshman Adam Ernberg at No. 1 (by a 6-4 score) and graduate student Mauricio Guerrero and freshman Leonel Gonzalez at No.2 (6-2).

The Patriot advantage increased to 3-1 after Gonzalez was victorious at No.3 (6-2, 6-2) and Guerrero won at No.2 (7-5, 4-6, 6-0). Barton rallied to win the final three singles matches and the match by a 4-3 margin. That included a hard-fought 6-2, 6-7 (8-10), 6-4 decision at the top singles position.

Nighthawks rally twice to sweep twinbill from FMU baseball

DAHLONEGA, Ga, – Francis Marion University held early advantages in both games, but the University of North Georgia rallied twice to sweep Sunday’s Peach Belt Conference baseball doubleheader from the Patriots, winning 8-4 and 16-7.

Francis Marion (0-3, 0-3) will host Lenoir-Rhyne University on Tuesday at 3 p.m. for the Patriots’ home opener. Attendance is limited to 250 and that includes only season ticket holders, FMU students with pre-acquired tickets, and player/staff family members identified on a pregame ticket list. No walk-up game-day tickets will be sold.

Senior catcher and designated hitter Leniel Gonzalez led FMU at the plate on Sunday going 6-for-9 with a pair of home runs, three runs scored and six driven in. The Sumter native homered in all three games of the series.

In Sunday’s opener, FMU scored first, snapping a scoreless deadlock in the top of the fourth. Senior first baseman Darius Nobles singled up the middle and eventually came around to score on a botched double play attempt. The Nighthawks responded immediately when catcher Andres Perez homered to lead off the bottom the frame.

A 2-out, 2-run double by left fielder Brady Eeles put UNG up 3-1 in the last of the fifth. Francis Marion cut that margin in half in the top of the sixth with a single tally. Two-out singles by Nobles, senior shortstop Grayson Cottingham, and junior second baseman Tanner Wakefield loaded the bases before Nobles scored on a wild pitch.

However, North Georgia scored twice in the bottom of the sixth and three times in the seventh to assume an 8-2 advantage.

Gonzalez completed the scoring with a two-run homer down the right field line in the ninth inning.

Sophomore left fielder Jack Hegan led FMU with three hits in game one, while Gonzalez, Nobles, and Cottingham all rapped out two hits apiece. The Patriots outhit the Nighthawks 11-9.

FMU sophomore right-hander Cory Poulsen (0-1), the second of five Patriot hurlers, absorbed the loss. Cade Heil (2-0) earned the win with 5.2 innings of work, while Maddex Richardson picked up his first save of 2021.

To lead off game two, FMU junior right fielder Will Hardee singled, Hegan walked, and Gonzalez blasted a three-run shot over the right field wall to stake the Patriots to a 3-0 lead.

FMU freshman starter Halton Hardy was greeted by solo homers by Crews Taylor and Perez in the bottom of the frame to narrow the margin to 3-2.

Francis Marion scored four times in the fourth to go ahead 7-2. A trio of walks loaded the bases with two outs. Gonzalez drove in one run with an infield single, a second run scored on a Nighthawk error, and then Cottingham and Wakefield drew bases-loaded RBI walks.

However, North Georgia responded with 14 unanswered runs to win the game and sweep the series.

Hardy pitched four innings, allowed five runs on seven hits with four strikeouts, and left holding the lead. Senior righty Reece Kleinhelter (0-1) was the losing pitcher, while Tyler Courtney (1-0), the fourth of six UNG hurlers, picked up the win.

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