Western Carolina goalkeeper Alesha Row moved one step closer to becoming the all-time record holder for shut-outs in a career. She picked up shut-out number 18 against Francis Marion to move into a tie with former record holder Mandi Tinsley. Tinsley achieved the feat from 1999-2002. Row’s 18th shut-out came against the Francis Marion Patriots on Friday, September 22, in front of 90 fans on the campus of Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina. The Lady Catamounts took control of the game early in the 1st half but could not take advantage of any of the opportunities in the half as both teams with into halftime tied, 0-0. The 2nd half was about the same as the 1st half as Western’s best opportunity came in the 85th minute. Freshman Bri Cunningham’s shot on goal was stopped by Patriot goalkeeper Jacque Sutphin and pushed out of bounds. The game went through 2 overtimes with both teams having opportunities to win the game, but neither could find the back of the net. Western’s best overtime opportunity came from Freshman Nikki Lombardo in the 3rd minute of the 2nd overtime, as she put a shot right on net from about 10 yards out but was stopped by Sutphin. With neither team being able to score, the game ended in a 0-0 tie. The Catamounts out shot the Patriots 9-to-7, including a 4-to-1 advantage on corner kicks with junior Heather Dittmer leading the way with 3 shots and Lombardo had 2 shots as 6 different players put shots on goal. Row stopped 3 shots for her 18th career shut-out; her counterpart Sutphin had 4 saves. The tie was Western’s first since 2004 when they tied with former conference foe, East Tennessee, the 3rd in Western’s 8-year history and the 1st under 2nd year coach Tammy DeCesare. Western’s next game was against regional rival, the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs. The Lady Cats would use consistent offense and stingy defense to earn a 3-0 victory over the Lady Bulldogs in front of 427 fans at the Catamount Athletic Complex. With the win, Western goes to 5-4-1 on the season. UNCA drops to 3-3-1 on the season. Western would get on the scoreboard right away in the 1st half as freshman Shanna Schmoker took a pass from sophomore Arlan Whittle and passed it over to junior Heather Dittmer, who headed it in to the goal at the 6:51 mark for a 1-0 lead. Whittle was not done with assists for the night as the Lady Cats would cash in on a Bulldog foul and get a free kick where Whittle found sophomore Buki Baruwa. Baruwa then headed the ball to an open Rachel Shomper, who placed it nicely into the left hand corner of the goal for her 1st collegiate goal. This gave the Lady Catamounts a 2-0 lead going into halftime. The 2nd half belonged to the Catamounts as they played tight defense, allowing the Lady Bulldogs to get just 1 shot off in the half, while putting 9 shots on goal. Western would add a 3rd and final goal in the 56th minute by senior Meghan Reilly that was unassisted and give the Lady Cats the 3-0 victory as they remained unbeaten in their last 4 games (3-0-1). Western had a considerable edge in the shot column, out-shooting UNCA 14-to-4; including 7-to-2 on corner kicks, 2 of Western’s goals came courtesy of the corner kick. Dittmer lead the way for the Lady Cats with 3 shots; her teammate Burawa had 2 shots as 11 Catamount players had shots on goal. Senior Goalkeeper Alesha Row and freshman Kelly Gulledge combined to make just 2 saves on the night as Row was credited with the win. UNCA goalkeeper Veronica Lazar dropped to 1-2-1 on her career making 6 saves. The Lady Bulldogs leading scorer Robyn Busha was held to just a single shot on the night. With this victory, Western cut UNCA’s lead in the new created “Parkway Series” to 2-1 in head to head competition. Western can tie or even take the lead when both the men’s and women’s basketball teams go head-to-head in November.