GREENVILLE, Tenn. – Junior forward Emilee Futrell (Wilson, N.C.)'s steal and score in the 95th minute lifted the Carson-Newman Eagles past the rival Tusculum Pioneers by a 3-2 final Wednesday evening at Pioneer Field.
The strike from Futrell came off of turnover near the perimeter of the 18-yard box by Pioneer keeper Cecilie Ting Mortensen who had her pass deflected on a heads-up play by Futrell. Patience paid off for the forward, as she collected the ball and fired it past the sliding Mortensen from roughly 12 yards out into the left-center of the net. The win will prevent the Pioneers (7-10, 3-7 South Atlantic Conference) from attending the SAC tournament, as they finish the season in ninth place, respectively.
It is the third brace on the season for Futrell, and the first overtime win for the Eagles (10-5-1, 7-2-1 SAC) in just the second match to see extra time all season. The first contest to head to OT resulted in a 1-1 draw against Catawba.
"It just shows our drive and how much we want it," Futrell said on the overtime win postgame. "This game, for them, they're done now and we knew that was going to happen (if they lost) and it puts us in third (in the standings). It was just a really important game and we knew we had to get it done."
Senior midfielder Lara Hallgrimsdottir (Kopavogur, Iceland) opened the scoring in ninth minute with her third penalty-kick goal on the campaign. Beginning the contest by pressing up on the offensive third junior midfielder Kristina Markfort (Munster, Germany) was tripped inside the box by a Tusculum defense to warrant the shot from the spot.
With the PK, Hallgrimsdottir has set a new program for most career penalty-kick goals with five.
"It differs a lot," Hallgrimsdottir said on her approach to her penalty shot. "Sometimes I decide before where I'm going to go and I kind of try to trick the keeper a little bit. Usually I just go with my gut where I'm going to hit it well.
"Their keeper (Ting Mortensen) is pretty athletic, so I knew I was going to have to put it in the corners and just to place it and I had decided to go to the left corner before I took it and I knew how important this goal was going be (to put the team in the lead)."
Tusculum would respond nearly an hour of game time later in the 65th minute as Chayse Stonebraker found the ball directly off of a corner kick that plinko'd inside the six-yard box for a goal past the outstretched C-N keeper Jasmine Rizk (Andersonville, Tenn.).
Just as soon as the score was tied a one apiece, Futrell would find her first goal on the contest on a give-and-goal with senior forward Delaney Griffin (Franklin, Tenn.) in the 66th minute. On an initial through ball on the left-hand side of the pitch by freshman midfielder Addie Henry (Chattanooga, Tenn.) to Griffin, the crafty senior captain was able to find a wide-open Futrell, who shot a hooking shot into the right-hand side of the net.
Late in the 87th minute, a penalty-kick on the side of Tusculum would even the ledger, as defense Yvette Raaijen stepped into a shot from the spot that sailed in past Rizk.
It was Futrell's ninth goal of the season that sent the Eagles back to Mossy Creek with a victory.
"As a team playing 90 minutes and going into overtime, we want to get it over as quick as possible and not give them any chances," Futrell said. "The whole team had the energy that we were going to win this game."
With the victory and the final results from around the league, C-N has secured the third seed in the SAC tournament and will host Queens Saturday from McCown Field. Earlier in the season on Oct. 5, C-N defeated Queens by a final of 3-1 from the friendly confines of Mossy Creek.
Despite that, however, Hallgrimsdottir knows that a lot is on the line for each team in the single-elimination tournament.
"We've seen in this conference that anything can happen," she said. "Even though we're in the upper part of the conference, the team that we're going to face Saturday can still come and play really hard. It's going to be a tough game, so we just have to be really up for it and have the mentality that we're going to win."
A Quarterfinal of the SAC tournament from McCown Field is set for Saturday at 5 p.m. with live coverage on the Eagles Sports Network.