Greenville, S.C. – Third-seeded Furman netted three first half goals and held off a late Davidson rally to down the Wildcats, 3-2, in the Southern Conference Women's Soccer Championship quarterfinal round on Sunday afternoon on Seagraves Field at Stone Stadium.
With the victory, Furman advances to Friday's semifinal round to face College of Charleston in an 8:30 p.m. ET match in Birmingham, Ala. The Cougars, the tournament's seventh seed, knocked off second-seeded Samford 2-1 in Birmingham on Sunday afternoon.
Furman (15-3-2) wasted little time breaking the deadlock as sophomore India Robinson gave the Paladins a 1-0 lead at the 7:26 mark with her first goal of the season. The Paladins were awarded a free kick on the sideline and 18 yards out from the goal line after a Davidson player was whistled for a hand ball. Robinson curled her free kick towards the near post and the 30-yard shot slipped between Davidson goalkeeper Rachel Locke and the woodwork to put Furman ahead.
Only seven minutes later, Robinson triggered the Paladin attack again by notching her team-best eighth assist of the season as Furman claimed a 2-0 lead. The Camden, S.C., native sent a cross from the left side to the far side post that Stephanie DeVita headed into the path of Martha Hall. The senior tapped in the pass for her fourth goal of the season and 35th career tally at the 14:43 mark.
DeVita, a freshman from Simpsonville, S.C., put Furman ahead 3-0 with the eventual game-winning goal at the 22:26 mark as Alyssa Althoff placed a perfect cross from the left wing to the back post for the Hillcrest High School product to head past Locke. The deciding goal marked DeVita's league-leading 19th goal and seventh match-winning tally of 2012. She also leads all freshman in NCAA Division I with her 19 goals.
Davidson (7-10-3) forced Furman to defend much of the second half as the Wildcats tried to mount a rally. Natalie Spach managed to put the Wildcats on the board at 66:23 as Julie Calhoun played a cross to the middle of the box for the freshman to tuck into the left corner.
With under a minute to play, Calhoun gave Davidson hope by running onto Renae Cairns' goal kick and firing a shot past Paladin goalkeeper Rose Hull with 32 remaining, but Furman ran out the final seconds to claim its sixth straight win and fourth consecutive victory over the Wildcats.
Hull, a freshman, stopped five shots for the Paladins to improve to 13-2-2 in goal. Locke took the loss for Davidson after giving up three goals without recording a save in less than 23 minutes of action.
The Wildcats outshot Furman 18-12 and held a 6-3 edge in corner kicks earned, but Davidson attempted only seven shots on goal.
Furman's triumph was its seventh straight win over Davidson in SoCon Tournament play and brought the Paladins' all-time postseason record versus the Wildcats to 7-1-1.
The winner of Friday's semifinal match between Furman and Charleston will advance to face either Elon or Georgia Southern in the SoCon Championship Match on Sunday, November 4, at 2 p.m. ET in Birmingham.
Fans can follow live statistics for Friday's match by logging onto www.FurmanPaladins.com and can access live updates via Twitter by following @FurmanPaladins.