Freshman midfielder Mackenzie Bailey scored twice to lead the Georgia Gwinnett women’s soccer team to a 2-1 win over NCAA Division II opponent Young Harris College Tuesday night in the first game under the lights on the new Grizzly Soccer Field on campus in Lawrenceville.
The Alpharetta, Ga., native twice broke a deadlocked game, her second score coming in the 82nd minute to give GGC the win.
The Grizzlies (6-4-1) continued strong home play on their inaugural season by winning their sixth home game in seven tries. The Mountain Lions (5-6) dropped their first game outside of Peach Belt Conference play with the defeat.
Georgia Gwinnett goalkeeper Mo Gutierrez, a Dacula grad, made six saves in the win as Young Harris held a slim 18-16 edge in total shots.
“I’m so excited for our players tonight as this was a huge win,” GGC head coach Domenic Martelli said. “This helps to put us on the map in the state of Georgia. We wanted to play within ourselves and focus on everything we had worked on over the last few days in practice. That’s what was so promising is that we came out and executed everything we went over.”
In the 34th minute, Bailey opened the scoring by knocking an arcing ball into the top corner of the net over Young Harris goalkeeper Yustin Nambo.
Gutierrez turned away three shots in the first half as GGC maintained its 1-0 lead into halftime.
Georgia Gwinnett dominated play coming out of the break, sustaining strong pressure through the first 15 minutes of the half. The Grizzlies could not capitalize in the opening minutes, however, and Young Harris would pull even five minutes after the opening GGC flurry.
After the Grizzlies were whistled for a foul just outside the box in the 65th minute, the Mountain Lions’ Mika Lopes ripped a free kick into the corner past Gutierrez for the tying score.
Martelli’s squad responded with more pressure, and it turned into another tally.
With eight minutes remaining in the game, Bailey collected a loose ball outside the Mountain Lions’ box and fired a rocket past Nambo into the lower corner to put GGC back in front.
The Grizzly defense held strong the rest of the game to deliver the 2-1 win.
“Mackenzie scored two phenomenal goals tonight and what made this night special is that we went out and took it,” Martelli added.
The Grizzlies now begin a five-game road trip with a 2 p.m. showdown Saturday at Reinhardt University.