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DeVita’s Hat Trick Helps Furman Top VMI In Regular Season Finale, 5-1

Stephanie DeVIta
Stephanie DeVIta

Lexington, Va. -- Midfielder Stephanie DeVita netted her first career hat trick and established a new Furman record with her 21st career match-winning goal to lead the Paladins to a 5-1 victory over VMI in the Southern Conference women's soccer regular season finale for both schools on Sunday at Patchin Field.

The win marked the fifth consecutive victory for the Paladins, who improved to 12-3-2 overall and 6-1-2 in conference play.  With the win and ETSU's 3-2 loss on Sunday at Western Carolina, Furman clinched the No. 2 seed in next week's SoCon Tournament and will host the winner of Wednesday's Chattanooga at Wofford opening round matchup on Sunday in Stone Stadium at 2 p.m.

VMI finished the regular season at 3-14-1 overall and 2-7-0 in SoCon play.  The Keydets will host The Citadel in the opening round of the SoCon Tournament on Wednesday.

"I'm proud of our team for finishing the regular season with a strong road trip and we look forward to hosting at Stone Stadium next Sunday," said Furman head coach Andrew Burr, who led his team to a 4-1 victory on Friday night at UNCG to open the regular season-ending road trip.  "This team has overcome some injuries and adversity this year to play some of its best soccer down the stretch."

DeVita, who upped her season scoring total to 14 and career goals total to 48 on Sunday, opened the scoring at the 19:20 mark by heading an India Robinson corner kick in at the back post.  The Simpsonville, S.C., native and Hillcrest High School product doubled the lead only 46 seconds later by firing a shot that trickled under VMI goalkeeper Sydnie Bligh.  

After assisting on DeVita's second tally, sophomore Carlie Couch scored a goal of her own at the 37:35 mark to increase the Furman lead to 3-0.  Senior Alyssa Althoff lofted a long ball over the top of the VMI defense and Couch ran onto the pass before beating Bligh one-on-one for her seventh goal of the campaign.

VMI's Sarah Putney put the Keydets on the board with her first goal of the season just 7:16 into the second half, but junior Jamie Alexander answered for the Paladins in the 58th minute.  Althoff swung a left-footed cross into the six-yard box and Alexander tapped in her shot for her ninth goal of the year at 57:59.

DeVita finished the scoring and handed Furman a 5-1 lead at 61:46 to complete her first career hat trick by heading in a Robinson cross following a Paladin corner kick.  Robinson's assist was her 17th of the season and made her just the second player in SoCon history to reach 50 career assists.  Her season assists total matches her NCAA leading 17 assists she recorded a year ago.

The Paladins outshot the Keydets 29-2 and fashioned a 19-1 advantage in shots on goal.  Junior Maggie Grisell notched the victory in goal, while VMI's Bligh made 14 saves in a losing effort.

Live statistics for Sunday's SoCon Tournament quarterfinal will be available at FurmanPaladins.com.  

Fans can access in-game updates of Sunday's match on Twitter by following @FurmanWSoccer.


Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information