JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (gomocs.com) --- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga sophomore transfer Peyton McCollum (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) recorded a hat trick to lead the Mocs to a 3-1 win over ETSU Sunday afternoon at Summers-Taylor Stadium in the season finale for both teams. The win pushed the Mocs to an eighth place finish in the Southern Conference standings, passing VMI.
Chattanooga finished the year at 4-12-2 overall and 2-6-1 in SoCon play for its best finish in the conference since 2005. ETSU dropped its fourth straight match to finish the year 9-8-1 overall and fifth in the league standings at 4-4-1.
McCollum scored her first goal in the latter half of the first period to tie it up 1-1 in the 32nd minute. She gathered the ball in the box, spun around her defender and punched it into the bottom left corner for the score.
She took a shot in the second half that was saved but not gathered in by ETSU’s keeper Jasmine Elliot. The deflection made its way back to McCollum who hit the shot into an open net for what would prove to be the game winner in the 58th minute.
Her third goal of the match came off a bouncing pass from senior Skylar Brewer (Farragut, Tenn.) to the middle of the box. She smashed it through to make it 3-1 in the 71st minute.
“Peyton was excellent today,” UTC Head Coach Gavin McKinney said. “The players in behind were getting the ball into good areas and she took the three goals really well. She looked dangerous any time she got the ball.”
The Mocs got down early allowing the Bucs a goal in the fourth minute. Eleonora Goldoni scored her first goal of the year at the 3:13 mark of the game, assisted by Irina Brutsch and Simona Koren, to grab the early 1-0 lead.
“We conceded that goal early,” McKinney said. “That can spiral on you, but we had the complete opposite response today. We battled and worked back into the game.”
Despite being outshot 17-8 (11=6 in the second half), the Mocs were able to make their shots count and outdueled ETSU 7-6 on shots on goal. UTC senior keeper Lauren Thomas (Memphis, Tenn.), making her second straight start this year, made five saves after giving up the early goal.
“Our entire team’s work rate and effort was excellent,” McKinney said. “We defended really, really well and Lauren did a great job in goal for us.”
The Mocs will host VMI Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Finley Stadium in the opening round of the Southern Conference Tournament.
1 3:13 ETSU Eleonora Goldoni (1) Irina Brutsch, Simona Koren
2 31:36 UTC Peyton McCollum (2) unassisted?
3 57:21 UTC Peyton McCollum (3) unassisted
4 70:22 UTC Peyton McCollum (4) Skylar Brewer
• Mocs finished the season 4-12-2 overall and 2-6-1 in SoCon play.
• Best SoCon record since 2010 (2-7-2)
• McCollum’s hat trick was her first of the year and Mocs’ first since D.K. Henry vs. Georgia Southern in 2010.
• First time UTC will host a SoCon Tournament match
• Mocs best finish in the SoCon since 2005.