JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – No. 14 ranked and second-seeded Carson-Newman topped the seventh-seeded Catawba College Catawba Indians for the third time this season by a final of 3-0 after the two faced off at McCown Field for the NCAA Division II Southeast Region Quarterfinal match.
Following the regular season finale on Oct. 27, the Eagles (15-4) and Indians (13-6) met for the third time in 13 days which included a meeting in the South Atlantic Conference semifinal.
C-N now moves to 6-2 all-time against league opponents in NCAA Tournament matches. The group holds a record of 13-4 in the postseason inside the friendly confines of Harvey Stadium which includes four-straight wins at Mossy Creek.
Simon Duffy's group got things off and rolling just over six minutes into the match, taking advantage of an opportunity following a corner kick. A ball played by Catarina Realista to the box was eventually settled down by Jente Kuper who fluttered the ball back to Realista at the right corner of the 18-yard box. The senior midfielder sent the ball on net off one bounce as it sailed past the outstretched arms of Catawba goalkeeper Shelby Thompson and graced the top shelf. The goal marked her second of the year and ended up being her first-career game-winning tally.
"It was kind of a lucky strike," Realista said. "Sometimes it goes to the football field and sometimes it goes in. That one did and I'm just happy I could help my team. The field conditions were rough obviously but we always have to expect the pass won't make it. We have to fight for every ball and we have to go game by game as tomorrow is a new day."
Very few chances were had for the rest of the first half from both sides as C-N held the edge in shots five to four.
"I thought it was a great performance by us but thought that first half might not have had as many of those shots as we'd like to," Duffy said. "We controlled the game but its eerie being up by one against Catawba because they're just capable to make it even. Great goal by Cat there in the first half and I think that carried over with our play in the second half."
The Eagles would put themselves up by a pair in the 53rd minute after senior forward Holly Talbut-Smith was taken down in the box and earned her team a penalty kick opportunity. C-N's all-time leading scorer in the postseason, Magda Mosengo, ripped a shot past Thompson for her 20th goal of the campaign. Mosengo has now collected at least one point in every game in which she's played since the Sept. 5 which spans 16 games.
The London, England native becomes the sixth Eagle all-time to eclipse the 20-goal mark in one season. Her two points also push her into fourth in the history of the program with 100 in her career.
The Eagles would seal up their fourth-straight opening round win in the 80th minute after a connection between Emilee Futrell and Talbut-Smith who found Kennedy Rankin in the middle of the box for her fourth goal of 2018.
Jackie Burns collected shutout No. 30 of her career as she inches closer to the league record 32 held by Kim Clayton of Catawba from 1999-02.
Catawba graduates just one player in the senior Thompson as Nick Brown's team ends the year with its most wins since 2012.
Despite the win, C-N was held to its second-lowest shooting effort on the season with just a total of 12 shots. The Eagles, however, would hold the Indians to six, marking the 12th time this season the team has held an opponent to single-digit shots.
Duffy's squad will turn its heads to another familiar sight in Lincoln Memorial when edged the third-seeded Lander Bearcats in penalty kicks 5-3 after the 110 minutes ended in a 2-2 tie.
The matchup slated for Nov. 11 at 6:30 p.m. comes exactly one week after the Railsplitters topped the Eagles in the SAC Championship 3-1.
"It wasn't our best performance that day," Duffy said. "It is what it is. If we don't put in a good performance then we don't deserve it and our girls understand that. I think that game has refocused us and served as a reality check."
Coverage for the Southeast Region semifinal match will be on hand at cneagles.com/live. Head on over to our tournament central page for all highlights, interviews, and scores from the weekend's games.