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No. 5 Seed Furman Stuns Top-Seed Samford In SoCon Women’s Soccer Semis, 2-0

Freshman Isabella Gutierrez scored a pair of second half goals as Furman topped Samford in the SoCon semifinals.
Freshman Isabella Gutierrez scored a pair of second half goals as Furman topped Samford in the SoCon semifinals.

November 2, 2018

No. 5 Seed Furman Stuns Top-Seed Samford In SoCon Women's Soccer Semis, 2-0

Macon, Ga. -- Freshman Isabella Gutierrez netted two goals in the final 11 minutes as No. 5 seed Furman stunned top-seed Samford, 2-0, in the Southern Conference Women's Soccer Championship semifinals Friday afternoon at Betts Stadium.

With the victory, the Paladins (12-6-0) advanced to face the winner of tonight's UNCG-ETSU match in the SoCon Championship Match on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Macon, Ga. The contest will be streamed live on ESPN+ and live statistics will be provided through StatBroadcast. Links for both will be posted at FurmanPaladins.com.

Gutierrez collected the ball on the left wing with under 11 minutes to play in regulation and skipped a bouncing shot past Samford netminder Stephanie Westaway and into the far right-hand corner at the 79:18 mark to break the deadlock. Less than three minutes later, the Statesboro, Ga., native chipped a long shot from deep on the left wing that deflected off of the right post and found the back of the net at 81:35 to put the match away. The pair of goals gave Furman's rookie six for the year, including three-match-winning scores.

"I'm proud of the hard work our girls put in today and the heavy lifting they did," said Paladin head coach Andrew Burr. "Samford is an outstanding team and that's a very good win for us, but we didn't come to Macon to beat Samford. We came here to win a SoCon championship. We'll enjoy this victory and then prepare for Sunday."

Samford (12-6-1), who entered the afternoon unbeaten in its last 25 SoCon regular season matches, dominated possession early in the match, but Furman's seasoned back line allowed few scoring opportunities to the Bulldogs. Weaver, who finished with six saves on the afternoon to notch her fifth shutout of the year, came up big in the 33rd minute when she punched Erin Bonner's goal-bound header over the bar off of a corner kick.

Amanda Baker produced Furman's best chance of the half by lining a shot through traffic off of an Erin O'Hearn corner in the 37th minute only to have her effort cleared from danger.

Furman began to control its share of possession in the second half. The Paladins best chance to break the tie came in the 66th minute when O'Hearn lined a shot off of the crossbar. Just seconds later, Bonner ripped a shot over the head of Weaver that deflected off of the bar and out of play.

Samford compiled a 13-11 edge in total shots with each team totaling six shots on target. Westaway finished with four saves in a losing effort for the Bulldogs.

The Paladins will be playing for their seventh SoCon Tournament crown on Sunday and first since earning the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament in 2015.

2018 Women's Soccer Championship
Saturday, Oct. 27
Quarterfinals (at higher seeds)
Match 3: No. 1 Samford 1, No. 9 The Citadel 0
Match 4: No. 5 Furman 1, No. 4 Western Carolina 0
Match 5: No. 2 UNCG 3, No. 10 VMI 2
Sunday, Oct. 28
Match 6: No. 3 ETSU 1, No. 6 Mercer 0
Friday, Nov. 2
Semifinals (Betts Stadium; Macon, Ga.)
Match 7: No. 5 Furman 2, No. 1 Samford 0
Match 8: No. 2 UNCG vs. Winner Match 6, 6:30 p.m. 
Sunday, Nov. 4
Final (Betts Stadium; Macon, Ga.)
Match 9: No. 5 Furman vs. Winner Match 8, 2 p.m.
*all times eastern unless otherwise noted