JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – A thrilling end to the 2018 regular season took place at McCown Field on Saturday night as No. 20 Carson-Newman collected a 2-1 double-overtime victory over the Catawba College Catawba Indians.
Following an overtime victory on the home turf Wednesday versus No. 13 Limestone, Holly Talbut-Smith made sure she'd get the credit for the goal this time around as her fourth goal of the season in the 101st minute propelled the Eagles (12-3, 9-1) to its ninth conference victory. Talbut-Smith's boot across the box on Oct. 24 was deflected in by a Saint and awarded an own goal.
Magda Mosengo took in a pass at midfield and singled out the senior forward with a long curving pass up the right side. Talbut-Smith collected the ball to the right of the 18-yard box and drove towards the net, slotting the ball past Catawba (12-4, 6-4) goalkeeper Shelby Thompson. The Indians netminder recorded a total of 10 saves on the day which marked the highest in 2018 for the senior. Saturday was the first time C-N had played back-to-back overtime games since 2013 when they had a total of six throughout the year.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Catawba," senior defender Averi Williams said. "They came out flying and countered when we were on a bit of our downfall in that first half. I thought we came out slow and going into overtime we knew we had to be ready to go. I'm ecstatic for Holly and I knew she would take care of business when she got the ball."
C-N got things off and rolling just under eight minutes into the match thanks to Mosengo's left foot. The senior forward out of London, England made two touches around an Indian defender at the top of the 18-yard box and ripped a shot past a diving Thompson glancing the bar and ending up in the back of the net for her team-leading 15th goal of the year.
With the goal, Mosengo has now collected 35 in her career, moving her into sole possession of fifth all-time in the history of the program after breaking a tie with current assistant coach Julianne Herrity (2015-16).
Thompson entered the day with the 12 wins as the most in the South Atlantic Conference. She was second in the league with six shutouts and owned a goals against average of 0.96.
"They stifled us a bit in the first half so we had to make some changes at the half not allowing a shot from their side," Duffy said. "Their keeper made just some tremendous saves but it seems to be the story of some of our games here lately. I think good teams find a way and we found a way. I've seen Holly score a lot of goals that way and I'm so glad for her and a great play from Magda as well."
Catawba's Courney Reavis drilled a ball from 35 yards out that glanced off C-N goalkeeper Jackie Burns tying the game at one in the 27th minute. Burns collected three saves and was replaced at the break in favor of Jessica Fraiture who was honored on the team's senior day. Fraiture stopped two of the shots she faced and recorded her first win since Nov. 15, 2015, after missing the previous two seasons with a shoulder injury.
The Indians collected the most wins in a season since 2012 when they finished the year 13-7. The six South Atlantic Conference wins are the most since 2014. Catawba ended the year as the fifth-seed as they are slated to travel to Anderson, S.C. on Tuesday, Oct. 30 to face off against the Trojans in the first round of the SAC Tournament.
C-N continued its dominant stretch against SAC foes during the last four regular-season contests with the victory. At the end of year four, the Eagles hold a record of 36-4-2 against league opponents while outscoring the opposition 131-30. The incredible numbers over the span come after C-N went just 3-14 in 2014 and 1-10 in the SAC.
Duffy's group led the match in the shot category 22-10 marking the 10th time this year in which the team has outshot the opponent by 12 or more.
After claiming the SAC regular season championship for the fourth-straight season in last week's win at Wingate, the Bulldogs trade sites when they travel to McCown Field on Tuesday, Oct. 30 for the opening round of the league tournament.
"Just a bit unusual this year with Queens and Wingate being the seven and eight seeds," Duffy said. "We just have to make sure we get some rest and train well Monday."
Wingate has been C-N's opposition in the past three SAC Championships but will be the Eagles opponents as the No. 8 seed. Game time for Tuesday is set for 5:00 p.m.