Baker’s Hat Trick Helps Furman Past USC Upstate In Season Opener, 6-1

Amanda Baker
Amanda Baker

Greenville, S.C. -- Sophomore Amanda Baker netted three goals and Furman scored five unanswered goals to down USC Upstate, 6-1, in the women's soccer season opener for both schools before a crowd of 1,564 on Friday night at Stone Soccer Stadium.

With the match knotted at 1-1 and less than two minutes to play in the first half, Claudia Murphy played a ball up the left wing to Treva Aycock. The sophomore sent a low cross into the middle of the box and Caitlyn Reilly redirected a shot over the head of USC Upstate's goalkeeper to put Furman in front, 2-1, at the 43:18 mark.

In the second half, senior Molly Dwyer opened the scoring at 53:49 by heading in Rachel Shah's corner kick to the far right post to up the margin to 3-1. Just 76 seconds later, Aycock ripped a shot from the top of the box that beat Spartan netminder Brooke Bailey to the left side to increase the Furman advantage to 4-1.

Baker, who had opened the scoring on an assist from Dwyer at the 24:47 mark before Upstate's Emelie Valenciano equalized at 27:19, put the match away with two late goals. Murphy sent a long cross to Baker in the middle of the box and the Lawrenceville, Ga., native held off her defender before powering a shot to the right side of the goalkeeper at 73:30. At the 84:59 mark, Willough Davis sent a pass into the middle of the box and Baker once again held off her defender before lining a shot into the right corner for the final 6-1 margin.

"We are very happy to start with a victory and it was nice to see so many different players play a role in the win," said Paladin coach Andrew Burr, who has led Furman to a 24-3-3 mark in its last 30 matches at Stone Stadium. "We started slow tonight, but I was pleased with how we responded and very happy to see the contribution from Amanda Baker. Our team also really appreciated the outstanding support from the freshman class on Freshmen Orientation Night and we hope they'll continue to support us this season."

The hat trick marked the 28th in school history and third in the last two seasons for the Paladins. Shah found the back of the net three times in a 3-0 victory at VMI last season, while Aycock netted three goals in a 3-2 win over Samford on Seagraves Field in 2016.

In addition to Baker's three goals, Dwyer and Aycock each contributed a goal and an assist while Murphy finished with two assists.

Sophomore Kellsey Weaver made one save en route to earning the win in goal for Furman. Bailey stopped three shots in a losing effort for the Spartans. Furman finished with a 19-9 edge in total shots and 9-2 advantage in shots on goal.

The Paladins continue their homestand when they host North Greenville at 7 p.m. on Monday night at Stone Stadium. Links for live statistics through StatBroadcast and the live video stream via the SoCon Digital Network are available at www.FurmanPaladins.com. Watch for in-game updates on Twitter by following @FurmanWSoccer.

Tickets for every home Furman match are $5 and are available at the Stone Stadium gate beginning an hour prior to kickoff.  Log onto www.FurmanPaladins.com to purchase single game tickets and for $20 season tickets (20 game vouchers).


Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information