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Own Goal Lifts Furman Past WCU In Overtime, 2-1; First-Place Paladins Win Eighth Straight

Treva Aycock
Treva Aycock

Greenville, S.C. -- Molly Dwyer's cross from the right side of the box was deflected past the Western Carolina goalkeeper for an own goal less than three minutes into the first overtime period as Furman escaped with a 2-1 victory over the Catamounts in Southern Conference women's soccer action Friday night on Seagraves Field at Stone Stadium.

The fortunate bounce helped the first-place Paladins claim their eighth consecutive victory, improve to 10-2-1 overall and remain perfect at 6-0-0 in the SoCon. Furman's three points on Friday night also guaranteed the Paladins a top two finish in the SoCon standings with three matches remaining in the regular season. Western Carolina slipped to 5-9-2 overall and 2-4-1 in the league.

"Early in the season we had some close games where the late bounce didn't go our way so it was nice to have a bit of luck tonight," said Paladin head coach Andrew Burr. "We didn't panic when we fell behind, we continued to play as a team and that allowed us to get the result. We'll enjoy this win for a while and then turn our focus to Sunday."

With the match knotted at 1-1 in the first overtime, Erin O'Hearn chased down a loose ball after her corner kick was cleared into the midfield. She won the ball and slotted a pass through the right side of the box. Dwyer beat her marker to the ball near the end line and hooked a low cross towards the top of the six-yard box that was deflected into the right side of the goal by a WCU defender trying to make a sliding clearance. The own goal gave Furman its first overtime victory in three tries this season as Western Carolina fell in overtime for the seventh time in 2017.

After Furman controlled much of the attack in the early going, Western Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute. Kasey Cooke slid a pass down the right side to Emily Threatt who lined a low cross through the six-yard box and into the path of a charging Deyana Walker to tap in for the go-ahead score at 23:47. The game's first goal marked the fourth score of the season for Walker.

Furman outshot the Catamounts 8-3 in the first period, but it took a header off the line in the final two minutes of the half to hold the deficit at 1-0 at intermission. The Paladins equalized just six minutes into the second half on a goal that mirrored Western Carolina's score. Claudia Murphy played a pass down the right side and Dwyer crossed the ball into the path of sophomore Treva Aycock who punched in her shot for her eighth goal of the season.

Aycock created the best chance to steal the three points in regulation with 11 seconds left in the period when her driving shot towards the right corner was touched clear by a sprawling Jacquelyn Gnassi of Western Carolina. Gnassi finished with five saves, while Furman's Kellsey Weaver stopped three shots to up her record in goal to 7-1-1.

Western Carolina's first half goal snapped Furman's streak of seven consecutive shutouts and marked the first goal against the Paladin defense in 653:47. Furman compiled a 15-9 advantage in total shots for the game and 7-5 edge in shots on goal.

The victory improved the Paladins to 29-5-4 in their last 38 matches on Seagraves Field and 17-1-2 at home versus SoCon opposition during the same span.

Sunday will be Senior Day at Stone Stadium as the Paladins honor the 2017 seniors and their families prior to their final regular season home match. The first 100 fans will receive a poster featuring the 2017 senior class.

Sunday's match will be just the 13th meeting between Furman and ETSU (5-10, 3-4 SoCon). The Paladins hold an 11-1-0 series advantage, but ETSU took a 2-0 decision in last year's regular season finale in Johnson City, Tenn., for its first victory over Furman.

Tickets for Sunday's game are available online at FurmanPaladins.com or can be purchased at the Stone Stadium entrance beginning one hour prior to kickoff. The home finale will be streamed live through the SoCon Digital Network and live statistics will be available through StatBroadcast. Links for both the video stream and live stats are posted at FurmanPaladins.com.

Fans can access in-game updates of Furman women's soccer on Twitter by following @FurmanWSoccer.



Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information