By: Sam Carter
STATESBORO, Ga. – South Georgia Tormenta FC earned the first three points of its 2023 USL W League campaign with a late winner over Tennessee SC on Monday night at Optim Sports Medicine Field at Tormenta Stadium. Kiana Jacobson’s finish at the end of regulation off an Emma Tucker assist is her first in a Tormenta shirt.
“It’s super important for this group,” said Head Coach Jim Robbins. “Obviously, they played very well last Friday night and were unlucky to get the result there for as well as they played. It was a similar type of match tonight. They were in complete control for 90 minutes. We should’ve converted the penalty – we didn’t. It is what it is. But, I’m excited that they just kept going and plugging away.”
South Georgia opened the match with sustained offensive pressure. In her first start of the season, Savannah Jackson found space down the right flank of the Tennessee SC defense and fed a ball across the box to Tucker whose shot flew just over the crossbar. Approaching the halftime interval, Abby Gemza got onto the end of a Peyton Chick free kick delivery forcing a diving save from the Tennessee goalkeeper. The sides entered the break tied at 0-0.
Celine Ottah entered the match in place of Jackson to start the second half. Midway through, Gemma Jefferson won possession just inside the Tennessee half and played Tess Werts in behind. Werts turned her defender and forced a strong save at the near post. Chick, in an advanced position, received the ball just after and played it across the Jefferson, who forced another save out of the opposition. Shortly after, Werts was tackled in Tennessee’s penalty box, winning a penalty for the home side that was saved. Finally, in the 90th minute, Tucker was played in behind the Tennessee defense, squared the ball across, and Jacobson slotted home the match-winner.
“This sport is so much of a team sport,” said forward Jacobson about her goal. “Having watched Emma, our outside-back, play in this game and the last game, I could tell by the way she was moving that she was getting that ball. And I knew in myself that I just had to be there for her. I think it was just mutual trust because when I was talking to her, she said she lost me, but she trusted someone was there. I trusted someone was getting to that ball, and I just needed a touch.”
In June of 2021, Tormenta FC was named a founding member of the USL W League, an elite pre-professional pathway for women looking to build their careers both on and off the pitch. Tormenta FC won its first-ever USL W League title in 2022 after defeating the Minnesota Aurora in front of 6,500 fans in Eagan, Minnesota.
Tormenta FC provides opportunities to local and national players to develop and start their professional careers in Statesboro, Georgia. In just one year, Tormenta FC’s USL W League team has produced six professional players with Sydney Martinez joining Jenae Packard, Emily Burke, Kelly Giddes, Abigail Wolf and Jodi Medina as the latest player to sign a contract in Europe.
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