JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – No. 20 Carson-Newman upset #13 Limestone and snapped the Saints 10-game win streak in a thrilling 1-0 final in overtime on Wednesday night at McCown Field. The win for C-N also marked the 100th of Coach Simon Duffy's career.
�� @CNWSoccer coach @SimonDuffy17 collects his 100th career win on Wednesday in the team's 1-0 OT win over No. 13 Limestone �� Duffy is now 32-4-1 in his short tenure at C-N. pic.twitter.com/we6dilYX4Z— Carson-Newman Athletics (@CNathletics) October 25, 2018
C-N's Holly Talbut-Smith's attempted cross from the right side of the 18-yard box in the 100th minute deflected off a Saints (13-2) defender and fell into the back of the net to give the Eagles (11-3) their sixth-consecutive win at home against non-conference opponents. The win also marks C-N's third-straight win at McCown Field against ranked opponents taking five out of the last six overall dating back to 2015.
"It was really good teamwork on that goal because we were getting a lot of pressure from Limestone," Talbut-Smith said. "Magda just found me on the outside and I drove the ball in. They had a lot of chances to score just like we did and Jackie really came up big when we needed her."
Limestone entered the afternoon as the second-ranked team in the latest Southeast Region polls released by the NCAA on Oct. 24 with C-N in the No. 5 position as teams jockey for a first-round bye in the tournament.
"I thought we played great football," Duffy said. "I'm always on about our girls not being one dimensional and moving the ball. To play that well against a good team, it feels better and even their keeper was exceptional tonight. To take on a team like that and get the victory is fantastic and we knew we'd get one sooner or later. We stayed positive and getting the win was a massive step in the right direction."
It was a goalkeeping battle early on in the match with both Jackie Burns and Veronica Smeltzer being called into action three times apiece under 15 minutes into the match. Burns (9-0) became the ultimate victor with her fourth clean sheet of the year and the 29th of her career in the six-save win. It's the most saves Burns has had to make this season topping the previous high of four which came against Lenoir-Rhyne on Sept. 12.
"We knew she would be up for it especially with the formidable attack of Limestone," Duffy said. "We had to be on our game and I thought our defense did great. To pick up the clean sheet is massive and I hope we can continue to play well and build off that performance."
Entering the day, the Saints were tied for fifth in the nation in goals with a total of 50, putting forth just 10 shots throughout the 100 minutes. The 10 shots mark the lowest of the season for Limestone whose previous low sat at 14. The last time Limestone was held scoreless and limited to 10 shots or less came on Oct. 7 of last season in a 3-0 loss to North Georgia.
Wednesday marked the second overtime game of 2018 for C-N who defeated Lee University on the road on Sept. 8 in a 3-2 final. Limestone's last overtime match kicked off the 2017 season when the Saints fell to Lenoir-Rhyne on the road with the same final of 1-0. Both the Bears and Eagles game-winners came in the first overtime.
The Eagles chances carried into the second half as Smeltzer (13-2) continued to be arguably the best player on the pitch making leaping saves on Catarina Realista and Talbut-Smith. The lone balls that would get past the senior goalkeeper came of the feet of Emilee Futrell and Realista but each would meet the crossbar.
Smeltzer ended the night with five saves for Limestone. Her 0.459 goals against average entering the day put her at 16th in the nation.
Duffy's group now turns its attention to the Catawba College Catawba Indians this Saturday, Oct. 27. Game time is set for 5:00 p.m. at McCown Field as C-N will honor its seniors in the final game of the regular season.