The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga battled Furman nearly to the wire, falling 1-0 in the Southern Conference women’s soccer championship semifinal at Stone Stadium Sunday afternoon.
With 2:33 remaining in the game, the Paladins sent a shot into the net for the lone goal of the match. Nieva Gaither passed from the top of the box to Isabella Gutierrez on the left. Chattanooga keeper Ashton Shields came out to make the stop but Gutierrez’ pass into the box got past her and in to Kyndal Anderson who booted home the winner.
Chattanooga got the ball back in their scoring third pretty quick. Senior Osa Iyare took a pair of shots in a short time span. Her first was on target but saved. Her second, from outside the 18-yard box, was high. On the ensuing goal kick Mocs’ head coach Gavin McKinney subbed in fresh legs that included starters Chloe Arnold, Emily Szymanski and Kendra Mueller.
Furman cleared the ball out of the Mocs end of the field, but it was picked up by senior defender Lauren Dluzewski who sent a long pass down field. Arnold picked it up just outside the 18-yard box and was ahead of the defense. Furman’s keeper came out of the box for the stop but Arnold got it past her. As Arnold sent her shot, she slid along the grass, watching as her shot glanced off the post and out past the end line with 1:12 remaining.
“Tough match and a difficult loss to take,” McKinney said. “The squad gave everything today as they always do. They have moved the program forward and for that we are thankful and proud.”
The shots were spread evenly between the two teams with Furman edging UTC 11-10 and a 4-3 shots on goal advantage. Shields had three saves in the match as did the Paladin keepers.
Arnold, Iyare and Mackenzie Smith each recorded two shots for Chattanooga with four more taking a shot. Furman’s shots were lumped mostly between three players with Anderson, Gaither and Jasmine Greene taking three each.
The match was originally scheduled for Saturday night, but field conditions following a torrential downpour caused playing conditions to be unfavorable, forcing the change in date.
Chattanooga closed out the season with an overall record 7-3-1. The Paladins, 7-0-2, move on to the final at Samford next weekend.