RIO GRANDE, Ohio — On a night when almost every final statistic showed a dead heat between Asbury University and the University of Rio Grande, the deciding tally on the scoreboard showed a slight edge to the visiting Eagles.
Elizabeth Sparks’ goal with just under 21-1/2 minutes left in the opening half snapped a 1-1 tie and lifted Asbury to a 2-1 win over the RedStorm, Saturday evening, in River States Conference women’s soccer action at Evan E. Davis Field.
The Eagles improved to 2-8 overall and 1-1 in league play with the win.
Rio Grande dropped to 1-9 overall and 1-1 inside the RSC with the setback.
The RedStorm grabbed the early advantage when senior Naysa Sanchez (Caguas, Puerto Rico) took a direct kick by junior teammate Amber Torres (Guyaquil, Ecuador) and buried a shot from the right wing into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead just 4:48 into the contest.
Asbury tied the game 14 minutes later on a penalty kick by Kaitlyn Maricle and grabbed the lead for good five minutes later when Sparks gathered in a left corner pass from Delaney Long in front of the goal and tapped a shot past Rio freshman net-minder Jayla Brown (Chillicothe, OH) for a 2-1 edge.
That’s how things stayed the rest of the way, although Rio had a 9-3 advantage in overall shots over the course of the second half and a 5-3 cushion in corner kick opportunities for the contest.
The RedStorm finished with a 15-14 edge in shots overall, while Asbury had a 6-5 advantage in shots on frame.
Brown had three saves in a losing cause for Rio Grande.
Carley Pyles had four stops in a route-going performance in goal for the Eagles.
Rio Grande returns to action on Thursday when Ohio Christian University visits for another River States Conference matchup.
Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.