Milliron, Bitz Score in Final Minutes to Lift Women’s Soccer Over Averett University

Anna Milliron, sophomore, brings the ball toward the penalty box against Averett University.
Anna Milliron, sophomore, brings the ball toward the penalty box against Averett University.
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  • Please view these seven photos as a series. The Anatomy of a Goal: Anna Milliron, sophomore, fields the ball outside the top of the 18…

  • …Milliron takes the ball inside the box toward the goal…

  • …An Averett University defender approaches Milliron from her right for a slide tackle…

  • …Milliron eludes that tackle and hops over the legs of the Averett defender…

  • …Milliron squares up toward the goal…

  • …Milliron rears back for a shot attempt…

  • …Milliron sends the ball past the Averett goal keeper for the first score of the night and her first goal of the season.

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Anna Milliron waited until last night to score her first goal of the season.

It was all the Panthers needed to beat Averett University.

With the game knotted at zero through all of the first half and most of the second, Milliron found herself with the ball just outside the penalty box with 22 ticks remaining in the game.

The sophomore out of William Byrd took the ball toward the goal.

An Averett defender came in from Milliron’s right and went for the slide tackle, but Milliron touched the ball left and hopped over the would-be tackler’s legs, taking a couple more touches about three yards deep into the six-yard box.

Milliron turned and squared up as Averett goalkeeper Tila Chrons closed in. Milliron reared back and booted the ball high and just to Chrons’ right side, putting it past the keeper’s outstretched hands and into the back of the net.

“That goal was fantastic,” Head Coach Erin Saleeby said. “She worked really hard to get it. She went in hard on a tackle and continued to be able to keep it. She didn’t panic in front of the goal, and she placed that thing beautifully.”

The 1-0 Panther lead held until Bri Bitz, junior, added to the score.

Bitz’s unassisted goal came with 13:45 left in the contest. After fielding the ball about 30 yards away from the goal, Bitz turned, stretched out, and sent a high banger past a helpless Chrons, solidifying the Panthers’ 2-0 victory, and recording her eighth goal of the season.

“Bri’s goal was a fantastic strike,” Saleeby said. “She stroked it–it was beautiful. The keeper had no chance.”

Averett made a few attempts in the waning minutes, but the Panther defense held strong, and goal keeper Ashli Wuss, sophomore, prevented any serious threat. In total, Wuss claimed four saves on the evening.

Post game, Milliron elaborated on her goal.

“There’s no better feeling than scoring,” Milliron said. “We broke a no-scoring streak, so it felt very good. It just goes to show that all the hard work we put in pays off. We go for extra touches–film–all throughout the day, everyday. Hard work pays off.”

The no-scoring streak Milliron mentioned dated back to the previous game at Randloph College where the Panthers fell 1-0 on a goal in the final 18 seconds of play.

Saleeby spoke about getting the team past the frustrating loss.

“For us, it was talking about accountability,” she said. “We have to be accountable for the things that we do as well as the things that we don’t do. The kind of thing like coming in, watching film, asking questions, learning from mistakes. And they did that.”

Saleeby said the team had a conversation amongst the players about heart and effort.

“It was very team-led, and that is an important aspect of any team. It can’t just be me saying ‘We have to do this, we have to do that.’ They have to take ownership and accountability themselves. And they did that as well.”

The win puts the Panthers at 7-4-1 on the season and 3-2 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).

The Panthers’ next game will be at home this Saturday at 2 p.m. verses Randolph Macon College.



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