Bulldog Soccer Defeats Furman in Double Overtime Thriller, 2-1
Charleston, S.C. - The Citadel Soccer team downed Furman in a double overtime bout with a 2-1 decision to advance to the Southern Conference Women's Soccer Championship semifinals.
After a scoreless draw in the first half, the Bulldogs set their offensive attack early in the second period. At the 49:27 mark, freshman Mariana Garcia took the first shot, but the kick went wide. Still in possession, The Citadel took a corner kick at the 51:42 mark that set freshman Vanessa Aponte up for the shot, but the kick was blocked by a Paladin defender. The Cadets earned another corner kick at the 52:10 mark. Senior Nicole Martinoli's kick sailed in the middle of the box giving Aponte another look at the goal. Jessica Smith finished the play with a diving save to the ground. The ball then bounced off Smith's hand giving the Bulldogs another opportunity, which freshman Jillian Meyer found and connected with the net giving The Citadel a 1-0 lead.
Down by a score, Furman never gave up immediately attacking the goal at the 55:49 mark. Chelsea McKie took a hard shot, but the kick went wide left. The Paladins regained possession of the ball when Catie Moore took a shot at the 65:22 mark, but junior Whitney Nave earned a stop for the Bulldogs. Maintaining the pressure, Rachel Shelnutt took a shot just seconds later and again Nave came up with the save. After a yellow card was given to Garcia at the 70:42 mark, Furman's Dee Makris passed the ball to the right side of the box where she found Ellen Moore who put it into the left side of the net to tie the match at one all.
Both squads fought hard to give their team a victory in the remainder of regulation but neither was successful sending the match into overtime.
Furman took sole possession of the first overtime period, taking four shots and limiting the Bulldogs to none. The Paladins' first scoring opportunity came when Shelnutt took a header, but the ball went wide. The Paladins kept pounding at the Bulldogs' net as Ashley Creavalle took a shot two minutes later but the play also finished with the same result. With seconds left on the clock, Hall and Laura White each took a shot but the Cadets stopped the Paladins on both plays with blocks, forcing a second overtime period.
The match took a turn when seconds after Shelnutt's shot went wide, Bulldogs' head coach Bob Winch was penalized with his second yellow card and ejected from the game. Without their head coach on the sidelines, The Citadel took possession of the ball. Martinoli took consecutive corner kicks for the Bulldogs, with Aponte finding the second kick. She passed it to Martinoli who took a shot, but it was blocked in the air with a Paladin hand ball, awarding the Bulldogs a free kick. With 1:49 left in the final overtime period, Aponte took the kick and the ball skipped into the bottom of the net giving the Bulldogs the 2-1 match victory.
"Furman is a very good team. I think we had some mental breakdowns last game. This game I think we had a lot more heart and fight and that is what made the difference today," said assistant coach Jamie Stewart. "We are going to have to come down from this. The girls are exhausted. We will give them some rest tomorrow and then get back at it. Going up there is brand new, so they have absolutely nothing to lose. I think our girls have a lot of heart. Coming from The Citadel they have a lot of structure and a lot of leadership, and I think that is really going to play a part in Friday's upcoming match. "
With the win, the Bulldogs have advanced to the semifinal round and will play the winner of today's Samford/Davidson match on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The semifinal and final rounds of the SoCon Women's Soccer Championship tournament will be played in Cullowhee, N.C. on Western Carolina's campus. For more information on The Citadel Soccer and post season details, visit the official website of Bulldog Athletics at www.CitadelSports.com.