Catamounts drop a pair of 1-goal matches

Losing a match by one goal can hurt, but losing back-to-back one goal games, can make a team sick. That was the case with the Western Carolina soccer team as they dropped a pair of Southern Conference games, each by a goal apiece including a match that went to double overtime. The losses dropped the Lady Catamounts to 9-7-2 on the season and 5-3-1 in the Southern Conference. In a rare Friday afternoon match, the Lady Cats were pitted against the Georgia Southern Eagles in a game with heroics that involved a freshman scoring her first career goal, but in the end it was not enough as Western dropped a 3-2 decision to the Lady Eagles in double overtime in front of 336 fans at the Catamount Athletic Complex. Western wasted no time in the first half getting on the scoreboard as freshman Shanna Schmoker scored a goal from over 20 yards out to take a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the match. The Lady Eagles tied the game 30 minutes later as WCU freshman goalkeeper Kelly Gulledge tried to clear ball out of the goalies’ box, but Lady Eagle sophomore Suzanne Rogers intercepted the pass as the Western defense attempted to move the ball to midfield, pass the ball to fellow teammate Ashley Toussaint, who fired a shot out of the reach of Gulledge’s hands to tie the game at one, which remained as the score until halftime. Georgia Southern (7-8-1, 5-3-0 SoCon) broke the tie in the 63rd minute on a corner kick opportunity by Junior Jenni Boykin with sophomore Holli Finneren getting the assist. The score remained the same until the last minute as Western turned up the heat as freshman Nikki Collins scored her first collegiate goal at literally the last second of regulation (89:59) to tie the game at two and force overtime. The first overtime saw neither team score, even though Western had a 6-to-1 advantage in the shots department but could not muster a goal forcing the second overtime. Less than a minute into the second extra session, Toussiant took advantage of getting past three Catamount defenders and the Gulledge to score from 11 yards out for her second goal of game and the game-winner for the 3-2 defeat of Western. The Lady Catamounts dominated the match in the shots department, 33 to 9, including a 7 to 3 corner kick advantage, but it was not enough to earn the victory. Gulledge was tagged with her first collegiate loss saving four shots while her counterpart, red-shirt freshman Lauren Santos picked up the win with 10 saves. Two days later, Western Carolina was the victim of another one-goal defeat, except this time around there were no last second goals; this time they got shut-out, 1-0 in front of 514 fans at Alumni Stadium in Davidson, N.C. Neither team seemed to gain an edge after 45 minutes of play with the teams only combining for four shots on goal with Western Carolina putting three of those shots on goal and having a 3-to-2 advantage in corner kicks. Both teams remained in 0-0 deadlock until the 79th minute when Lady Wildcat freshman Suzanne Sittko took a pass from junior Kristen Koehrn and managed to get past the defense and shoot the ball past the out-stretched hands of Western goalkeeper Alesha Row for the 1-0 lead. Western had two golden opportunities within the next five minutes as senior Meghan Reilly took a shot on goal but Davidson’s goalkeeper, Bevin English, made a diving save that may have saved the game for Davidson and preserved the win 1-0. Both teams had the same amount of shots on goal, with 8 apiece. Western Carolina did own a 7-to-5 advantage on the cornerkicks. Both Lady Catamount goalkeepers saw action in the game. Kelly Gulledge made just one save in the first half. Alesha Row came in the second half, making three saves, but also allowed the winning goal, and was saddled with the loss. English earned the win for Davidson (9-6-2, 5-3-0 SoCon) making six saves to preserve the shut-out.