JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – No. 16 and top-seeded Carson-Newman collected four goals in the final 18 minutes taking a 4-1 victory over eighth-seeded Wingate in the South Atlantic Conference Quarterfinals on Tuesday at McCown Field. C-N will make their 10th appearance in the SAC semifinal this weekend in the team's 28-year history.
Wingate's (7-7-2) loss ends a streak of eight-straight appearance in the league title match, mustering just three shots all afternoon. The lone goal was scored by Sophie Jendrzejczyk in the 76th minute marking the Bulldogs first goal against the Eagles (13-3) since the 2016 season. The goal would also be the first C-N has allowed in the first round of the conference tournament since 2013.
"They pushed at the end and we tried to exploit those wide areas and we were able to take advantage of it," Coach Simon Duffy said. "I'm just thankful that we are still kicking. We need to give ourselves every opportunity to extend our postseason as long as we can."
Magda Mosengo got things going for C-N in the 73rd minute after C-N already had an abundance of chances but were unable to crack Wingate goalkeeper Abbey Frail. Mosengo took a feed from Kristina Markfort up the middle of the box as she shot back across her body with the left foot to give C-N the lead.
Just 83 seconds later, the senior forward collected the ball and moseyed around Frail at the top of the box as she just walked the ball into the back of the net. Mosengo pushed her season goal total to 17 which ties her number from 2017 after playing in 23 games as a junior. The 2018 tallies have been accumulated in just 15 contests. The goal would go on to be her team-leading fifth game-winner of the season. She has recorded a point in every game she has played following the first two games of the season, a streak which now sits at 12-straight. Mosengo is within five points of tying Lauren Wade for fourth all-time in points with 98.
Kennedy Rankin collected her third goal of the campaign on one of C-N's better strikes of 2018. A feed to the right side of the 18-yard box from Catarina Realista left Rankin with a one-on-one opportunity with a Wingate defender. Rankin took just two touches and sent a rocket of a ball into the top shelf to give the team a 3-1 lead.
"I just took it down the line and cut it back with my right and hit it with my left and it went beyond frame for once," Rankin said. "I feel like I'm just getting more comfortable out there."
Emilee Futrell ultimately iced the game for C-N in the final minute of regulation after thrusting home a rebound off a Mosengo shot that was stopped by Frail and hit the post. The sophomore forward's efforts mark her ninth of the year which is good for fifth in the league. She already ties her 2017 total in just 16 games.
The majority of the first half was spent in the Wingate third with C-N collecting five shots in the first 15 minutes. The aforementioned Futrell had her chance in the first 20 seconds stopped by the Bulldog goalkeeper as it registered the only shot on net in the first 45 for the Eagles.
"Very unlucky not to be up by at least one at the half," Coach Duffy said. "We played some great football. I was glad we were eventually able to break them down because they are a really good side regardless of the season they've had."
C-N did not allow a single shot from Wingate until the 56th minute of the match. The total of three shots on the afternoon for the Bulldogs are the lowest of the season under the guidance of Chip Wiggins. C-N allowed just eight when the two teams met on Oct. 20 which was the previous low until Tuesday. The last time the Bulldogs were held to three shots or less came against Duffy's Eagles on Oct. 14 of 2014 in a 1-0 loss at McCown Field.
The 24 shots allowed by the unit tie for the most shots allowed in 2018 since Queens unleashed the number two weeks ago.
C-N (12-3) has now won six out of the last seven matches against the Bulldogs outscoring them 13-3 over the span. The Eagles have played Wingate an overall of seven times in the conference tournament as they hold a 6-1 series advantage in such matchups.
Wingate's season is the worst finish in the team's history under Wiggins in his nine years at the helm. The last time the Bulldogs lost seven matches came over a decade ago. During the 2007 season, Wingate went 5-11-1.
C-N will travel to Rock Hill, S.C. for the SAC Semifinal when they take on the Catawba College Catawba Indians. Game time is scheduled for Nov. 2 with a start time of 11:00 a.m.