ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Mary Wiley scored twice to lead Radford to a 3-2 Big South Conference women's soccer decision over homestanding UNC Asheville Saturday afternoon at Greenwood Field.
The defending Big South Conference champions got a stern test from a young Bulldog squad and had to hold on in the end to get the victory.
Asheville (3-9-0, 1-3-0 BSC) stunned the Highlanders early in the match when leading scorer Kaitlyn Eckert scored her fifth goal of the season. The sophomore took the ball away from Radford goalkeeper Che' Brown and scored at 4:02 to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
The Highlanders (7-2-1, 3-0-1) got the goal back eight minutes later when Asheville was called for a foul in the box. Rachel Conway scored on a PK to knot the match at 1-1 at the 12:29 mark.
Wiley scored her first goal of the game at 21:35 when she took a pass from Sahar Aflaki and connected on a breakaway to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
Asheville controlled play the rest of half and put up the final five shots of the game but just could not get the equalizer.
The Bulldogs had an 11-6 edge in shots in the opening half.
Wiley scored again in the 51st minute. She received a perfect pass from Stephanie Herb and scored on a breakaway to pad the lead to 3-1 at 51:03.
Asheville kept battling and finally scored late in the match. Paige Trent's long pass got to Kennedy Garrett in the goal area. Garrett tapped the ball into the back of the net at 89:28 to cut the lead to 3-2.
Despite the loss, Bulldog head coach Michelle Demko was pleased with her team's effort.
"We were very good today. I thought we did enough to put more goals in the back of the net," stated Demko. "Our final third play was excellent. We had a great commitment from our backs to get forward and serve the box. We created more opportunities today than we have in any conference game. If we can recreate that type of dynamic movement, we should compete with anyone we play."
Sophomore goalkeeper Heather Muller made nine saves for the Bulldogs. Brown had six for Radford.
UNC Asheville begins a two-game road trip on Thursday at Campbell. The match begins at 7 p.m.