CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga scored in the sixth minute and led for the next 80 minutes only to see the lead slip away to Furman who edged the Mocs 4-3 in overtime Thursday night at Finley Stadium.
"People us the term ‘heartbreaker' all the time," Chattanooga Head Coach J.D. Kyzer said. "But tonight was definitely a heartbreaker."
UTC senior Donna-Kay Henry (Queens Village, N.Y.) was working to get past the Furman defense late in the game and slipped the ball to teammate junior Becca Smith (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) a few feet away and Smith converted the goal from 10 yard out to give Chattanooga a 3-1 lead with 8:17 to play in regulation.
However, the Paladins stepped up the offense and cut the lead to 3-2 just one minute later on a corner kick then scored the equalizer with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.
"Things were clicking and we were playing so well," Kyzer said. "We're so young and we have never been in this situation with a lead on a very good team. We didn't stick to the game plan at the end and it hurt us."
Chattanooga jumped on the board early with a goal from freshman Crystal Mackezyk (Columbia, Tenn.) at the 5:56 mark of the game. Smith sent a pass to Mackezyk in the middle who took the shot from 12 yards out and found the net for her fourth goal of the season.
Furman tied the match in the 11th minute on a goal from team-leading scorer Rachel Shelnutt. She eluded the defense and hit the shot into the lower right corner to tie the game at 1-1. The Mocs responded a short time later as Mackezyk found Henry in the box who converted on her fourth goal and put Chattanooga up 2-1 in the 17th minute.
The score remained unchanged throughout most of the rest of the game until Smith's goal, her league-leading 11th of the year, in the 81st minute game the Mocs a two-goal cushion. That wouldn't be enough to fend off Furman who then scored three unanswered for the win.
India Robinson stepped in to take her first corner of the night and found Dee Makris in front of the goal to cut the Mocs lead to 3-2. Just minutes later, Ali Simpson arced a shot from about 25 yards out on the right side and cleared Chattanooga keeper sophomore Taylor Mangrum (Franklin, Tenn.) to tie the match in the 86th minute.
Neither team could score before the clock wound down and in overtime Shelnut connected on her second goal of the match at the 92:10 mark to give the Paladins the 4-3 overtime victory.
"Furman is a good team and well coached," Kyzer said. "This was disappointing, just disappointing. We've now dropped three very close games and that makes it hard to keep the faith, but we're on the same page and playing some decent soccer right now and we'll take that with us to Wofford on Sunday."
Chattanooga falls to 5-6-1 overall and 0-5 in Southern Conference action while Furman improves to 8-5-1 overall and 3-1-1 in league play. The Mocs will begin a three-game road swing this Sunday at Wofford with a 2 p.m. start.
1. 5:56 UTC Crystal Mackezyk (4) Becca Smith
2. 10:47 FUR Rachel Shelnut (7) unassisted
3. 16:15 UTC Donna-Kay Henry (4) Crystal Mackezyk
4. 80:28 UTC Becca Smith (11) Donna-Kay Henry
5. 81:12 FUR Dee Makris (1) India Robinson
6. 85:12 FUR Ali Simpson (3) unassisted
7. 92:10 FUR Rachel Shelnutt (8) Colleen Lynch