Paladins celebrate

The Furman Paladins’ season came to an end at Eugene Stone Stadium in Columbia, SC. It ended on the short end of a 5-0 result in the opening round of the NCAA tournament to the #14 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks.

That result didn’t reflect the season that Andrew Burr’s team had as they posted a 17-4-2 overall record, while winning the Southern Conference championship.

That record included a six-match winning streak and a run of eight straight unbeaten matches.

The Paladins were led by 2012 SoCon Player of the Year, Stephanie DeVita (Simpson-ville, SC) who was the SoCon tourney Most Outstanding player in 2013.

The Hillcrest HS grad had 15 goals and nine assists in 22 matches. Three goals and a pair of assists came in the SoCon tournament.

Burr was named the league’s Coach of the Year. DeVita was second in the vote for Player of the Year, and Carli Couch (Tifton, GA) was the conference Freshman of the Year.

Couch, who scored 142 goals in her high school career, scored 12 in her first season of collegiate soccer.

Furman posted an 8-1-1 league record to finish first in regular season action in the tough Southern Conference. It was the Paladins first regular season title since 2003.

While the season ended for the Paladins, it continues for DeVita, who was invited to the U.S. Under-20 National Team training camp the last week in November at the United States Soccer National Training Center in Carson, Calif.

“Stephanie played very well for us this past season, and we are excited that she has been given the opportunity to display her talents at the next level,” said Burr.

The U.S. Under-20 team is preparing for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands in January, 2014.

Furman’s victory in the SoCon tournament came in dramatic fashion against Elon.

With the championship game tied at 1-1 in the 80th minute, junior India Robinson (Camden, SC) uncorked a 28-yard strike to give the Paladins the lead.

Five minutes later Furman sealed a 3-1 win when Jamie Alexander’s (Martinez, Ga.) 20-yard shot deflected off a defender and into the goal.

The win marked the Paladins fifth league tournament title.


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