by Benny Benton
TIGERVILLE, S.C. – The Barton College women's soccer team suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss on Saturday when host North Greenville University scored a goal with just 26 seconds left in double-overtime of their Conference Carolinas matchup at Pepsi Stadium.
North Greenville senior Tori Owens intercepted a headed clear attempt in the middle of the field and chipped a looping shot from some 30 yards out over the head of Barton keeper Haley Sauls for the game-winner.
The loss dropped the Lady Bulldogs (6-6-3, 4-3-3) into fifth place in the league standings, and damaged Barton's chances of hosting a first-round match in the upcoming Conference Carolinas Tournament. In addition to defeating King University at home next weekend in its regular-season finale, Barton will now need some help to move back into the top four.
North Greenville (7-5-4, 5-3-1) moved past the Lady Bulldogs and into a tie for third place with Belmont Abbey, one point ahead of Barton.
The Crusaders held the lead for much of the match after scoring just 5:34 into the contest on another chip shot, this one by sophomore Karly Denaburg, her fifth of the season.
The score stayed 1-0 through halftime and remained that way until the 60th minute, when Rebekah Beal provided the equalizer for Barton on her eighth goal of the season, a shot launched from near midfield.
Barton enjoyed a 7-2 edge in corner kicks in the match, and the Lady Bulldogs produced shots off two of those in the final 20 minutes, but both missed wide. NGU's lone shot attempt over the rest of regulation came in the 82nd minute off the foot of Abby Robinson, but it was stopped by Sauls.
North Greenville keeper Madelynn Schober made two saves in the first overtime, one on a shot by Beal and the other on an attempt by Carson Molaro in the final minute. Sauls posted one save in the first OT, and the Crusaders missed wide left on the final shot of the period.
Sauls, who had nine saves in the match for Barton, collected three of those in the second overtime, including a pair on attempts by Owens in the first three minutes of the period. The Lady Bulldogs produced just one shot in the second OT, an attempt by Maddie Robertson midway through the period that was stopped by Schober, who had six saves in the contest.
North Greenville took 13 total attempts while Barton produced 12.
The Lady Bulldogs will host Regent University on Monday at 7 p.m., the first of three matches in a busy final week of the regular-season for Barton.