Macon, Ga. – Behind nine combined goals from Kelly Hagerty and Kate, Leone Mercer used a 14-goal first half to down Furman, 18-8, in the 2018 Southern Conference Championship game. With the win, the Bears earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, while the loss ends the Paladins' 2018 season at 8-11.
Furman was led by Britt Douglass with two goals, while Grace Pollak, Sophie Brennan, Isabelle Walsh, Kyra LaMotte, Abby Shields and Kasie Lilly each added one. Sydney Catts won a team-high five draws, while Maggie Friel made 12 saves in goal.
The Paladins opened the game with a goal by Pollak to jump out to a 1-0 lead just 30 seconds in. The Bears responded with back-to-back goals to take a 2-1 lead over the next 2:00 of game time, before Sophie Brennan tied the game at two with 27:17 left in the half. Mercer then exploded for five-straight goals to take a 7-2 advantage, before Douglass ended the run and cut the lead to 7-3 with just under 21:00 to go. The teams traded goals until, with the Bears leading 9-5, Mercer used another offensive outburst to push the lead to 14-5 with 2:00 to go in the first. Isabelle Walsh ended the run and sent the teams to halftime with the Bears holding a 14-6 lead.
The Bears held the Paladins off the board for the first 12 minutes of the second half, pushing their lead to 18-6, before Kyra LaMotte and Abby Shields netted back-to-back goals to cut the lead to 18-8, but giving Mercer the SoCon Championship victory.