By Nicholas Robinson, John Brown (Ark.) Sports Information Director
ATCHISON, Kan. -- After allowing No. 22 Benedictine (Kan.) to knot the score at one apiece in the second half, sophomore Julie Whitlow saved the Golden Eagle effort by burying not only the game-winning goal in a 2-1 upset victory, but also a completing a feat not accomplished by the program in over five years.
Whitlow's goal in the 78th minute delivered a JBU win over a top-25 opponent for the first time since the 2008 season. On Sept. 1, 2008, then-No. 20 John Brown landed a 4-1 non-conference upset victory over then-No. 18 Bethel (Tenn.) at Alumni Field.
In a match that featured a barrage of shots from the host Ravens (18-5) the Golden Eagles scored when it mattered, tallying two second-half strikes to earn the win.
"Tonight was a great game and I am incredibly proud of the girls," said head coach Kathleen Paulsen after the win. "They fought and battled for everything tonight and every single person contributed to that win. This is one tough team and I'm just glad I get to be a part of a really special group of young ladies."
Benedictine (5-3-1) controlled the first half, earning a 9-2 shot advantage over the visitors. Sophomore keeper Kristen Morency held the back line, including a save in the fifth minute, to keep JBU in contention. In the 33rd minute, Morency's defensive counterparts bailed out the netminder, as freshman Sarah Hill cleared a would-be Raven goal off the line, keeping the match scoreless.
The pace would pick up even more in the second half when freshman striker Braydi Frederick notched her second goal of the season in the 49th minute. The play began when junior midfielder Madi Susmilch flicked a Casey O'Brien throw-in towards the feet of an oncoming Nicole Kosin. The sophomore midfielder one-touched the ball before sending an excellent cross to the far post to a streaking Frederick, who finished the attack, handing John Brown a 1-0 advantage.
The Ravens then counter-attacked, building pressure in the JBU third of the field. In the 56th minute, Benedictine turned in four shots on goal as Morency made a save on the first attempt before her teammates helped out the reigning SAC Keeper of the Year. Hill and junior midfielder Casey O'Brien each recorded a goal-line clear, keeping the slim Golden Eagle advantage alive.
In a game that featured a lopsided amount of fouls, the Golden Eagles were whistled for a hand ball in the box in the 72nd minute. Benedictine would then convert the opportunity to tie the score at one.
Not dismayed by the tying mark, Whitlow wasted no time redeeming the John Brown effort just six minutes later. Off a direct kick just outside the box on the left flank, Whitlow bent an attempt just inside the far post, allowing JBU to regain the advantage, 2-1.
Benedictine would attempt to rally after the late Golden Eagle strike, sending three shots towards the JBU net. Morency would not be beaten again, as she recorded two saves late in the match as John Brown clung to the victory, 2-1.
Morency picked up her fifth win this season (5-2-0) while making an impressive seven saves in the winning effort. Ashley Holland (5-3-1) took the loss in net for the Ravens.
The Golden Eagles will now open conference play on Saturday (Sept. 28) when it travels to Shawnee, Okla., to face St. Gregory's in both squads' SAC openers. Game time is slated for 1:00 p.m.