Birmingham, Ala. – Georgia Southern edged Furman on penalty kicks, 5-4 to capture the Southern Conference Women's Soccer title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament following a 0-0 draw on Sunday at the Samford Track and Soccer Stadium in Birmingham, Ala.
In the sixth round of penalty kicks, Furman goalkeeper Rose Hull stopped Cori Dulmage's low shot. With Furman needing a conversion to win, India Robinson fired her spot kick off of the cross bar to send the shootout to a seventh round. Sydnie Van Curen buried her shot to put GSU ahead and Ali Simpson's shot slammed into the cross bar to give the Eagles the SoCon title.
"This is a heartbreaking way to lose and have our season come to an end," said Paladin head coach Andrew Burr. "Georgia Southern deserves a lot of credit for the way they played."
Georgia Southern goalkeeper Katie Merson recorded six saves over 110 minutes to keep the Eagles in the match and earn tournament MVP honors. After a scoreless first half, Merson was called on to make a pair of diving saves to deny Stephanie DeVita a go-ahead goal, and she turned away a Hannah Stanifer header late in the match to force overtime.
After two scoreless 10-minute periods, each team converted its first three penalty kicks before GSU's McKenna Storey pulled her shot wide of the post in the fourth round. Alyssa Althoff missed for Furman to keep the shootout knotted at 3-3 while Zoe Van Gorder and Martha Hall made good on their chances to force a sixth round.
Furman outshot the Eagles 16-6 and finished with a 6-2 advantage in shots on goal. Hull, who posted a 0.62 goals against average in her rookie season, notched two saves.
Furman finished its season 16-3-3 while the Eagles improved to 10-7-5.
Michaela Hermann, College of Charleston
Sarah Schaidle, College of Charleston
Claire O'Keeffe, Elon
Jaclyn Wood, Elon
Emily Graves, Furman
Martha Hall, Furman
Catie Moore, Furman
Nora El-Shami, Georgia Southern
Emily Hirano, Georgia Southern
Katie Merson , Georgia Southern
Zoe Van Gorder, Georgia Southern
Most Outstanding Player
Katie Merson, Georgia Southern