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Paladins Use Fast Start To Blank VMI In SoCon Opener, 3-0

Rachel Shah
Rachel Shah

Greenville, S.C. -- Senior Molly Dwyer netted a pair of goals in the opening eight minutes and the Furman defense recorded its third consecutive shutout as the Paladins cruised to a 3-0 victory over VMI in the Southern Conference opener for both schools Friday night on Seagraves Field at Stone Soccer Stadium.

The victory upped the Paladins record to 5-2-1 overall and 1-0 in the SoCon, while Furman improved to 14-1-2 in its last 17 home matches against league foes. VMI fell to 3-7-0 overall and 0-1 in the SoCon.

"We got off to a great start tonight and I thought our full team was in the game from the opening whistle," said Paladin head coach Andrew Burr, who improved to 76-32-15 all-time versus SoCon opposition. "We were able to create and finish chances early, which gave us a chance to play a lot of people. It's good to get off to a winning start in league play, but now we have to turn our attention to facing a very good UNCG team on Sunday."

Dwyer, who has netted two goals in each of the Paladins' last three matches and has seven goals for the season, opened her account at the 1:43 mark to give Furman a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Caitlyn Reilly chipped a pass over the back line of VMI and Dwyer volleyed a dipping shot off the bounce that went over the goalkeeper's shoulder and into the center of the net.

In the eighth minute, senior Rachel Shah slid a pass to Dwyer on the left side of the box and the Knoxville, Tenn., native rocketed a shot past the VMI keeper from a tight angle at 7:50 to double the Paladin lead.

Junior Virginia Poe finished the scoring in the 55th minute with her first goal of the season. Shah delivered an in-swinging corner kick from the right corner past the penalty spot and Poe headed a shot back across the face of goal to beat the keeper and give Furman a 3-0 lead.

The Paladins compiled a 25-3 edge in total shots and 14-0 advantage in shots on goal against the Keydets, including five shots on target from Dwyer.

Junior Allie Cutler earned the start and goal and played 45 minutes to pick up the victory. She and Kellsey Weaver, who played the second half between the pipes, were not called on to make a save in the SoCon opener.

Furman returns to action on Sunday afternoon at Stone Stadium when it renews its rivalry with UNCG. Sunday's 2 p.m. match is the "Armor Up Game" presented by SAAC. The first 100 fans will receive a "Furman Futbol" tank top. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased beginning one hour prior to kickoff at the Stone Stadium gate or online at FurmanPaladins.com.

Links for live statistics through StatBroadcast and the live video stream via the SoCon Digital Network are available at FurmanPaladins.com. Watch for in-game updates and highlights on Twitter by following @FurmanWSoccer.


Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information