ROCK HILL, S.C. – No. 16 ranked and top-seeded Carson-Newman topped fifth-seeded Catawba for the second time in less than a week as the Eagles were powered to a 2-1 win behind Magda Mosengo in the South Atlantic Conference semifinal from Manchester Meadows. The Eagles will head to their fourth-consecutive league championship match.
During the team's 11-game winning streak in SAC Tournament play, the Eagles have outscored opponents 26-4.
C-N (14-3) struck just 59 seconds into the game after a loose ball landed on the foot of Holly Talbut-Smith at the top of the 18-yard box. The senior forward immediately made a one-touch through ball and hit a streaking Mosengo who put the ball away with her right foot for her 18th goal of 2018. Mosengo topped her career-high of 17 goals in which she collected over 23 games in 2017. She's accumulated the 18 in just the 16 matches she's played in this season as her consecutive games streak of recording at least a point moves to 14.
The last time a C-N player scored within the first minute of the game came on Oct. 19, 2016, when Lauren Wade scored on Tusculum just 30 seconds into the 4-2 win. Talbut-Smith's assist gives her five for the year and 28 in her career as she nears second all-time in the program history which is held by Jennifer Brock (2002-05) with 31.
With a little bit of déjà vu in the air, Catawba would be able to tie things up in the 26th minute after a defensive collapse played a role once again for an Indians tally. Bailey Howell cleaned up a loose ball in the box due to some miscommunication on the C-N side to tie the game at one.
The game remained knotted at the break with C-N holding the advantage in the shot category 6-4. Duffy's group would go the rest of the way without first-team All-SAC goalkeeper Jackie Burns who left the game due to injury in the 21st minute.
Eight minutes into the second half, Catarina Realista's unleashed a bullet from 25 yards out that nearly went into the top left corner of the net but it needed a diving save from the Catawba goalkeeper Shelby Thompson (13-5). The Eagles were awarded a corner off Thompson's deflection as junior Lara Hallgrimsdottir's ball to the back post found the head of Mosengo for her second goal of the day and the 19th of the season.
The London, England native was named the league's Offensive Player of the Year a day ago. With the two goals, she has collected a multi-goal game six times this season. The helper from Hallgrimsdottir marked her fourth of the season with Mosengo's game-winner tally now up to six on the season. She's already tied for the record in a single year following seven during the 2017 run.
With the 19 goals, Mosengo is sixth all-time in program history for single-season tallies with Liz Jallo holding the top spot with 24 in 2002. Now with 39 goals in her career, Mosengo broke a fifth-place tie with Wade. She remains one total point (97) behind the former All-American for fourth all-time in career points.
C-N finished the day on top in the shot category 12-10; however, it would be the Eagles lowest shot total of the campaign since the opening game vs. No. 12 West Florida on Aug. 31 in which they mustered just eight. It's only the second time the season C-N has outshot a team by less than five.
"I'm not quite sure what happened offensively today," Duffy said. "Catawba is a very good side and they proved that once again but our players, in general, weren't their usual selves. The passing wasn't sharp, the urgency wasn't there so that could have had a lot to do with it but again, credit to Nick Brown and his staff he had his players ready to go. We couldn't really get going, we weren't focused and couldn't get moving properly so we'll have to be much much better on Sunday."
Jasmine Rizk (3-2) relieved the injured Burns for the final 69 minutes collecting two saves and her third win of the season.
The Eagles will appear in the SAC Championship in search of its eighth title in program history. They hold a perfect record in such matches.
Game time for Sunday, Nov. 4 is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. C-N will play the winner of second-seeded Lincoln Memorial and third-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne.