by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – Barton College freshman Sarah Tinker capped a furious rally for the Lady Bulldogs with a goal 2:26 into the second overtime period, lifting BC to a 3-2 victory over North Greenville University in its first Conference Carolinas home match of the year on Saturday.
Playing in front of a spirited Family Weekend crowd at the Barton Outdoor Athletics Complex, Barton (3-3, 2-0) fought back from a 2-0 deficit with two goals in the final 17 minutes of regulation to force the overtime periods. One of those goals was also by Tinker, who has scored two goals in two straight games and has a team-high five for the season.
Tinker, a resident of North Prince George, Va., scored the game-winner into the upper left-hand corner of the net as North Greenville senior keeper Michelle Huddleston tried in vain to get back on her line.
Huddleston had served a free kick from the far right side of the 18-yard box to nearly midfield, but Barton freshman Brianna Boyd quickly flicked the ball back to Tinker in the middle of the box, and Huddleston was unable to get back in position in time to stop the game-winning shot.
Boyd also contributed the game-tying goal with just 5:08 remaining in regulation. The Perrysburg, Ohio, resident stole the ball from the foot of North Greenville's Michaela Gleed some 40 yards out and raced down the right wing all the way to the edge of the box before ripping a shot inside the far post for her first collegiate goal.
Until that point, North Greenville (1-4, 0-3) had held the lead since the 16th minute of the match, when Asheton Robinson netted her first goal of the year. Robinson and Barton keeper Haley Sauls collided while battling for a free kick and both fell down, but Robinson was able to get back up and collect the loose ball. Barton defender Taylor Doeble stepped onto the line with Sauls off of it, but could not use her hands to grab the shot of Robinson as it went by her.
The score remained 1-0 until 10 minutes into the second half, when the Crusaders struck again. On a free kick from midfield to the middle of the box, Tori Owens deflected a header to her left, where Karly Denaburg was open and drilled a shot past Sauls into the right side of the net.
Barton finally got on the scoreboard in the 74th minute when senior Tanya Garcia lofted a pass over the North Greenville defense to Tinker in the box, who fired past Huddleston into the right side of the net.
Given new life, the Lady Bulldogs continued to press until finally getting the equalizer from Boyd in the 85th minute.
BC enjoyed a 16-10 edge in shots, and both teams had just one corner kick. Huddleston, now 0-1 on the year in net, made five saves for the Crusaders, while Sauls posted four saves for Barton in improving to 2-0 on the season.
The Lady Bulldogs are off to a 2-0 start in the conference for the first time since 2008 after recording identical 3-2 overtime victories. They will attempt to make it three wins in a row when they host Southern Wesleyan University next Saturday at 2 p.m.