Furman (17-3-2) will learn its postseason fate on Monday, as the NCAA Selection Show will take place at NCAA.com at 4:30 p.m. This year’s College Cup will take place in Cary, N.C., at the WakeMed Soccer Park, on Dec. 6 and 8.
With 10:23 left and the contest tied at 1, Furman’s India Robinson, the nation’s assists leader with 17, struck a beautiful long-range shot from the right side for the game-winner. Robinson hit a line-drive laser from nearly 30 yards out that settled into the back of the net far post for her third goal of the season.
The Paladins tacked on an insurance goal just minutes later, as Jamie Alexander took a shot from 20 yards out that deflected off an Elon player in the box and bounced in at the far post in the 86th minute to secure the win.
The title was Furman’s first since 2007 and fifth overall.
Elon (13-3-6), making its first title game appearance, controlled the run of play for the majority of the first half, but Furman capitalized on one of its few chances in the opening period. In the 20th minute, Hannah Stannifer sent a ball over the top from the midfield for Stephanie DeVita. DeVita, who would go on to be named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, outraced her defender for the ball and beat Elon keeper Sydney Branson one-on-one for the 1-0 lead.
The Phoenix quickly countered, as Nicole Dennion fired a shot from the right side of the box that forced a diving save from Furman keeper Rose Hull. Elon’s Jennifer McGorty was there to pounce on the short rebound, pounding it home in the 24th minute to knot the game at 1.
With just over 4 minutes remaining in the first half, Furman’s Carlie Couch found herself one-one-one with Branson inside the 18-yard box. Branson came off her line and made a nice save on the run on Couch’s close-range attempt to keep the game tied heading into the half.
Five minutes into the second half, Elon’s McGorty got loose on a breakaway, but she played the ball too far in front of her and Hull was able to come off her line to smother the chance before McGorty could get off a shot.
Alexander nearly put the Paladins ahead with 27 minutes left in the game, as Furman got numbers on a breakaway. Claire Sullivan brought the ball up and fed Alexander on the right wing and Alexander struck a bullet that keeper Kate Murphy was able to knock just wide of the near post with a diving effort.
Elon’s Catherine Brinkman had the next good scoring chance, a one-touch shot off Nicole Dennion’s cross that whizzed just inches by the near post with just under 18 minutes left.
With 11 minutes to go in regulation, Couch’s close-range header was right at Murphy, who had no problem making the stop.
After Robinson’s go-ahead goal, Elon nearly found the equalizer, but Dennion put a shot off the crossbar in the 83rd minute.
Furman’s win avenged its only regular-season SoCon loss this season, a 4-3 setback at Elon on Oct. 13.
Hull allowed one goal and finished with four saves on the afternoon to improve to 13-1-1 on the year. Murphy, who came on for the second half, allowed two goals to suffer the loss, making three saves and falling to 8-1-4. Branson, who earned the start, made three saves and allowed one goal.
DeVita, Hull, Robinson and Catie Moore earned spots on the all-tournament team for Furman, while McGorty, Brinkman and Kimmie Krauss represented Elon on the squad. Samford’s Michelle Moll and Shanika Thomas and Wofford’s Maggie Bosley and Alex Kachulis also earned spots on the team.
2013 SoCon Women’s Soccer Championship All-Tournament Team
Michelle Moll, Samford
Shanika Thomas, Samford
Maggie Bosley, Wofford
Alex Kachulis, Wofford
Catherine Brinkman, Elon
Kimmie Krauss, Elon
Jennifer McGorty, Elon
Stephanie DeVita, Furman
Rose Hull, Furman
Catie Moore, Furman
India Robinson, Furman
Most Outstanding Player – Stephanie DeVita, Furman
2013 SoCon Women’s Soccer Championship
Semifinals, Friday, Nov. 8
Semifinal 1: No. 1 seed Furman 2, No. 4 seed Samford 0
Semifinal 2: No. 2 seed Elon 1, No. 6 seed Wofford 0
Championship, Sunday, Nov. 10
No. 1 seed Furman 3, No. 2 seed Elon 1