JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – An 85th-minute goal from Wingate's Kaitlyn Cox pushed a deadlocked 1-1 game in favor of Wingate, as the Bulldogs defeated the Carson-Newman Eagles by a 2-1 final at Mossy Creek.
"Disappointed, if I'm honest," head coach Simon Duffy said postgame. "Just too many underperformers. Credit to Wingate, that's a big turnaround that they've had (from last season)."
With the loss, C-N still statistically has a chance to claim its fifth-straight South Atlantic Conference regular-season championship, but it would take a massive amount of help. Top-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne would need to lose to Coker, who is in last place in the standings, respectfully. Wingate and Catawba, the second and third teams on the table, would have to play to a draw, while C-N defeats Tusculum on Wednesday.
Wingate's late goal to lift them into the lead was Cox's team-leading sixth goal on the season, looping into the net past goalie Jasmine Rizk (Andersonville, Tenn.). It is also Cox's second game-winning goal on the season. The Bulldogs (11-3-1, 7-2 SAC) are now 3-2 in one-goal games.
Taylor Krakower opened the scoring for Wingate, assisted in the 59th minute by Cox. The shot beat Rizk on the right-hand side to put the opposition in the driver's seat.
The Eagles (9-5-1, 6-2-1 SAC) were able to respond 11 minutes later off the boot of senior midfielder Sydney Spadafora (Collierville, Tenn.). Fellow senior Delaney Griffin (Franklin, Tenn.) dribbled the ball to the Wingate end line before dishing it into the six-yard box where Spadafora knocked it home true to the center of the net. It is Spadafora's first goal since Sept. 13, 2017 at Mars Hill.
That is where the scoring ended on the night, however, as the five total shots for the Eagles after the Spadafora tally were unable to find the back of the mesh. Sophomore forward Elena Propst (Maiden, N.C.) had a rocket shot dink off of the right-side post in the 82nd minute, darting out of play for a goal kick.
Going into Wednesday's finale against Tusculum, Duffy would like to work on the offensive attack and figure out how to put together higher quality shot attempts.
"I thought we had enough chances to win the game, just off target and just not enough conviction in what we were doing tonight," Duffy said. "We just lacked the killer instinct as well, which has happened once or twice this year. Hopefully we can respond with a win on Wednesday."
C-N is now 5-3 at McCown Field, with its highest amount of losses from home since the 2014 season, respectively. Still, the Eagles will have at least one more chance to play at Mossy Creek in the quarterfinals of the SAC conference tournament, as a top-4 seed in the single-elimination bracket has already been secured. The team could also see more action at home in the NCAA Tournament.
Play at Pioneer Field in Greenville, Tenn. is set for Wednesday at 5 p.m.