Preseason Favorites battle to a tie

Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 for Western Carolina soccer was a tough battle as they faced the team predicted to finish in second this year: the Furman Paladins and the favorite to win the conference: the UNC-Greensboro Spartans. Despite a loss to Furman, the Lady Catamounts earned a tie against the Lady Spartans to move to 5-5-2 on the season and 1-1-1 in the Southern Conference.Furman and Western Carolina played each other for the first time since last year’s Southern Conference Championship game, only thing different this time around was the result. Furman (4-6-0, 2-0-0 SoCon) was able to capitalize on two Lady Catamount miscues to take a 2-0 victory over Western in front of 638 fans at the Catamount Athletic Complex. Western’s first miscue came within 10 minutes of the first half on a committed foul, which set-up a corner kick for the Lady Paladins; Furman junior Gena Villari cashed in and fired a shot from 25 yards out, going to the upper right hand corner, passed WCU goalkeeper Alesha Row for the early 1-0 lead, which was the score going into halftime. Western turned up the offensive intensity in the second half as Row would deny Villari a bid at a second goal in the 53rd minute. Western took that momentum and put a bombardment of shots on goal over the next five minutes as back-to-back shots by freshmen Nikki Lombardo and Shanna Schomoker were stopped by the Furman defense. A clear out by freshman Jenny Matteson put her in great position to get a shot off, but her shot was shielded off the cross bar by Furman goalkeeper, Briana da Mota, and the Lady Paladin defense cleared it out, denying Western their best opportunity of the evening. Furman added on an insurance goal in the 79th minute courtesy of another Lady Catamount miscue. Western seemed to have cleared the ball out of their territory, but unfortunately, a minor mistake was taken advantage of as Furman’s Rachel Fry stole the ball, and blasted the shot out of the reach of Row for the 2-0 victory. Despite tying the Paladins in shots (11-11), Western had the edge in corner kicks (8-to-2); including a 7-to-1 advantage in the second half. Junior Heather Dittmer and red-shirt freshman Rachael Shomper led the Lady Catamounts with two shots apiece as nine Catamount players put shots on goal. Being tagged with her fifth defeat, Row made five saves; her counterpart Mota, made just two saves in the match. After a hard fought 110 minutes between Western Carolina and UNC-Greensboro, neither team could gain an edge as the game ended in a 1-1 tie in front of 260 fans at the UNCG Soccer Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was the second tie for the Lady Catamounts in nine days, and the third overtime game in the last two weeks. Less than five minutes after halftime, the Lady Spartans were able to light up the scoreboard Heather Deutschle and Shannon Donovan found a wide open Kelly Attayek for her first collegiate goal and the 1-0 lead early in the second half. Western would tie game up at 1 in the 69th minute as freshman Shannon Fowkes found an open Rebekah Mumm, who headed is past goalkeeper Katherine Ryan for her first collegiate goal and a 1-1 tie that would send the match into overtime. In the first overtime frame, the Lady Catamounts had two opportunities to win the game, but couldn’t convert on either to force a second overtime. The second frame saw the Lady Spartans have two opportunities and came out of it with nothing as the game ends in a 1-all tie. UNC-Greensboro (3-7-2, 2-0-1 SoCon) had the advantage in shots, 12-10 and also in corner kicks, 5-3. Western Carolina Goalkeeper Alesha Row recorded four saves in the game, while her counterpart, Ryan stopped three shots on the game.