Columbus, Ga. – Second-ranked Carson-Newman fell to No. 12 Columbus State by a final of 3-2 despite a valiant effort late by the Eagles in the waning moments.
Simon Duffy's squad found themselves down 3-0 entering the final 10 minutes of play before sophomore forward Emilee Futrell (Wilson, N.C.) found the back of the net twice in just under three minutes inching the Eagles closer to erasing a three-goal deficit for the first time in over 12 years.
Senior forward Holly Talbut-Smith (Crawley, England) got things started in the 85th minute beating a Cougars (2-0) defender up the right side in good position for a cross. The preseason first-team all-SAC member sent the ball into the box finding the foot of Futrell for the Eagles (0-2) first tally of 2018.
The assist from Talbut-Smith puts her in sole possession of fifth place in program history with a total of 23 career assists. She needs just two more to own the third spot all-time needing to pass Lauren Wade (2017-18) and Brittany Moore (2005-08) who each own 24.
Moments later, the North Carolinian collected the ball at the corner of the 18-yard box rifling the ball into the top shelf to bring the team within one, a kick in which was probably the most impressive of her young career in Mossy Creek. She becomes the second quickest player to record back-to-back goals (2:36) since Wade scored three against Tusculum on Oct. 18 of 2017, scoring goals 2:00 between each other, before following up the third just 1:30 later.
Senior transfer Kennedy Rankin (Dearborn, Mich.) assisted Futrell on the second goal to record her first point as an Eagle.
Futrell's afternoon marked the second two-goal game of her career after she collected a pair against Lincoln Memorial in a 5-2 win during her freshman season.
Final efforts came up short for C-N, though Coach Duffy was pleased with what he saw from his team down the stretch.
"I'm just so so proud of the effort these girls put in," Duffy explained. "We didn't have it from the very get-go but Columbus State is a very exceptional team. They are probably the best team I've seen in a long long time in terms of the way the interchange and move the ball. Once we finally got into the game, I felt we gave them a good game. We had so many good chances, unfortunately, they didn't go in for us." The Eagles won the shots battle at 17-15.
The Eagles suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since the end of their 2014 season in matches against Alabama-Huntsville (4-3 OT) and Anderson (4-2). It's the first back-to-back losses to start a campaign since that same year.
Columbus State opened the scoring in the 6th minute after a foul in the box awarded Tehgan Anguilm an opportunity for a penalty kick. Her shot was sent to the right of goalkeeper Jasmine Rizk (Andersonville, Tenn.) for her first goal of the year. Rizk collected seven saves on the afternoon, notching a new career-high.
Jay Entlich's squad quickly came back six minutes later when Riley Clark slotted a well-placed cross from Anguilm. Clark then assisted Rachael Sweigard just 41 seconds into the second half to put the Cougars up 3-1. It was the first game the Eagles had allowed three goals since North Georgia in the NCAA Tournament in 2016, and the first regular season game since Lincoln Memorial in 2014 in a 4-3 OT loss.
With the win, CSU pulled ahead in the all-time series 4-3 with all four coming inside the friendly confines of Walden Soccer Complex. The Eagles brought the series even in the 2017 Southeast Region Championship when they topped the Cougars by a final of 6-0.
"It was a complete team effort and I'm still immensely proud despite the 0-2 start," Duffy added. "We need to keep it in perspective that each and every game needs this effort and attitude."
Carson-Newman will head back to McCown Field on Wednesday when they host Lees-McRae. Carson-Newman hasn't dropped a match at home since Sept. 11 of 2015 against Ohio Dominican.