NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Fans, friends, and alumni of Manchester University women's soccer found themselves in a keepsake moment situation Wednesday, Oct. 11.
Senior midfielder/forward Maranda Birmingham (Kouts, Ind.) became the program's first 25-goals-plus scorer since former standout Katelyn Barta did so from 2011-15 by converting a penalty kick chance in the 75th minute against Franklin College on the Good Field pitch. Her team-leading fifth goal of the year also sparked a strong energy surge by head coach Christine Johnson's side down the stretch as MU, despite falling to 0-14 overall and 0-4 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, countered attacked heavily in the final 15 minutes to make the Grizzlies' 3-1 decision hard earned.
Birmingham and freshman defender Sabreena Ferguson (Gaston, Ind.) managed to keep FC net minder Lexi Short busy with three saves over the 90 minutes. The Spartans' defense held the usually potent Franklin offense at bay until the 29th minute, and then the visitors added a second score, this one the match decider, just over six minutes later.
Senior goalkeeper Caroline Smith (Mason, Ohio) guided the back row effort with six saves to increase her season total to 94. She moves into a clash with preseason loop favorite and league co-leader Mt. St. Joseph University Saturday, Oct. 13, just six saves short of her initial collegiate 100-plus season total which would be a first for the program since 2014.
Kickoff at MSJ's Schueler Field in Cincinnati is set for approximately 5:30 p.m.