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Couch Fires Furman Past UNCG In Overtime Of SoCon Quarterfinals, 1-0

Carlie Couch
Carlie Couch

Greenville, S.C. -- Senior Carlie Couch banked the game-winning goal off the underside of the cross bar just 58 seconds into overtime to lift Furman to a 1-0 victory over UNCG in the quarterfinal round of the Southern Conference Women's Soccer Championship Saturday afternoon on Seagraves Field at Stone Soccer Stadium.

With the victory, Furman (13-4-1) advances to face the winner of tonight's Samford/VMI match in the semifinals of the SoCon Tournament on Friday, November 4, at 5 p.m. at Summers-Taylor Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn. UNCG concludes its season at 7-11-2.

In the opening minute of overtime, Treva Aycock received a pass down the left wing. She passed to Molly Dwyer who played the ball to Couch at the top of the box. The senior unleashed a shot from 18 yards out that clipped the underside of the bar and landed beyond the goal line before spinning into the side netting at the 90:58 mark to give the Paladins the victory. Couch's goal marked her 10th of the season and 37th of her career, which leads all active SoCon players.

"Really, nothing has changed that much since we were playing Vanderbilt and Georgia two-and-a-half months ago," said Furman head coach Andrew Burr, who guided the Paladins into their sixth consecutive SoCon semifinals appearance. "We're going to be very strong defensively, we're going to get shutouts and we're going to find someone to come up with the big goal, and today that was Carlie Couch, a senior.

Furman dominated much of the possession and outshot the Spartans 17-3 on the day, including a 5-3 margin in shots on goal. After the Paladins posted an 8-0 margin in shot attempts in the first half, Aycock nearly provided the breakthrough score in the 51st minute when her effort rattled the cross bar from the right side of the box. Moments later off of a UNCG corner kick, the Spartans' Regan Lehman had a goal-bound header saved off the line by a Paladin defender and Grace Regal's follow-up shot was denied by a Paladin block at the line.

Couch hit the cross bar after Rachel Shah forced UNCG's Chloe Buehler into a save in the 61st minute and Dwyer came close to breaking the tie when Buehler stopped her volley from close range in the 85th minute.

Senior Rose Hull recorded one save to earn her second solo shutout and Furman's 12th clean sheet in 18 matches this season. The Paladin defense allowed just three total shots to a UNCG squad that had netted four goals against them in an October 2, match in Greensboro, N.C. Buehler turned away four shots in a losing effort for the Spartans.

Friday's semifinal match will be streamed live on the SoCon Digital Network with the winner advancing to Sunday's 1 p.m. championship match in Johnson City, which will be available on ESPN3. Live statistics for both matches will be provided through StatBroadcast with the links posted at FurmanPaladins.com.

Updates on Furman women's soccer can be found on Twitter by following @FurmanWSoccer.



Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information