SALISBURY, N.C. – Two goals scored in the first 10 minutes of play would be all that would come from the Frock Athletic Complex in Salisbury, N.C. with Catawba and Carson-Newman playing 100 subsequent minutes to a 1-1 draw.
Both sides got off to a blazing start, with junior forward Maddie Capel firing the opening salvo in the third minute for the Catawba Indians (9-2-2, 5-1-2 South Atlantic Conference) past C-N goalie Jasmine Rizk (Andersonville, Tenn.). Junior forward Emilee Futrell (Wilson, N.C.) would respond shortly, however, with a goal of her own in the 10th minute for the Eagles (9-4-1, 6-1-1 SAC).
Before Wednesday's match at Limestone, C-N was 0-4-0 in matches where they conceded the first goal in the match. While it isn't ideal, Duffy's squad in the past two matches is 1-0-1 after playing at a deficit, with a level of response that hadn't been seen until recently.
"With just as much energy as we've had – we haven't played with that much energy in the past six or seven games," Duffy said postgame following the draw. "I couldn't be more happy with our players. How we approached it, our mentality for the 90 minutes and then to go into the two overtime periods was tremendous."
It is the first draw in the regular season for C-N since Oct. 20, 2017 when the Eagles and the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears played to a 2-2 stalemate at Mossy Creek. C-N has only played to four draws over the past five seasons dating back to the beginning of the 2015 campaign.
With a point in hand leaving the Frock Athletic Complex, C-N maintains its position atop the SAC table as the only team in the conference with one loss. While playing for a draw is not the objective for Duffy, the negative consequences of a loss this late in the campaign are too impactful for the standings.
"We have the mentality that we obviously wanted to go (into the game) and have a desire to win the game, but obviously a refusal to lose," Duffy said. "We're not leaving here with anything. That was very much a point game (singular point in the standings with a tie) because of an excellent Catawba side, and you can see why they've beaten Lenoir-Rhyne earlier on.
"They're definitely one of the top teams in our conference."
Shots at the end of regulation were in favor of C-N by an 18-12 margin, but an 11-4 tilt in shots taken in favor of Catawba between the two overtimes put the final tally at 23-22 for the Catawba Indians. C-N has only been outshot three times this season, with the most recent occasion coming on Sept. 13 at home against Lee.
With the week ahead free due to a lack of a midweek fixture, Duffy will make sure his team is well-rested before senior night at McCown Field when the Eagles face the Wingate Bulldogs on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m.