By: Sammy Clough, Sports Editor
A great week for Furman sports came to an end Sunday, Nov. 11 as the men’s soccer team defeated UNCG to claim the Southern Conference championship. This win capped off a week which saw action from cross country, volleyball, football, men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s basketball.
The week began Tuesday, Nov. 6 with an exhibition game against Bob Jones to open the season for Furman men’s basketball. The Paladins handled Bob Jones easily at home in Timmons Arena, winning 102-48.
On Wednesday, women’s basketball played their first game of the season while volleyball played their last home match. Sophomore Celena Taborn scored a team high 12 points while redshirt junior Taylor Petty in her first official game game for the Paladins added 11 points. The women’s basketball team rolled past Coker 71-42.
New video boards in Timmons Arena kept the basketball crowd updated on volleyball as they showed Furman defeating Wofford 3 sets to 2. In her last game in Alley Gym, senior Carris Campbell led the way with 18 kills while fellow senior Jordan McNeill recorded a team high 24 digs.
The weekend began on Friday as the cross country teams traveled to Rock Hill, S.C. for the NCAA Southeast Region Championship. The women’s team placed second and automatically qualified for the NCAA Championship later this month. They had three runners place onto the All-Southeast Region team which included juniors, Savannah Carnahan, Emma Grace Hurley and Gabbi Jennings. While the men’s team did not qualify for nationals, senior Aaron Templeton finished third and qualified individually. The NCAA Championship will be held on Nov. 17 in Madison, Wisc.
Later on Friday, Furman men’s soccer faced ETSU in the semifinal matchup of the SoCon Championship. Tied at 1-1 in overtime, senior Laurence Wyke headed a corner kick into the back of the net to give the Paladins a 2-1 victory in the 98th minute. The win sent Furman to the SoCon final held just two days later.
Friday’s festivities continued as the Furman men’s basketball team traveled north to face 2018 Final Four team Loyola-Chicago. The Ramblers captured the attention of the nation last March as a Cinderella team after advancing all the way to the NCAA Final Four despite being an 11-seed. The Paladins jumped out to a 28-5 lead over Loyola-Chicago to start the game, but were countered by a 20-0 run from the Ramblers. Tied 58-58 with 23 seconds left in the game, Furman had the ball and an opportunity to silence the Rambler crowd with a victory. Senior Matt Rafferty tossed the ball to a cutting Clay Mounce who promptly slammed the ball home with 1.6 seconds left to give the Paladins a 60-58. Mounce, a redshirt sophomore, made the incredible game-winning dunk that was shared nationwide, even reaching Sportscenter’s Top Ten Plays. and even reached Sportscenter’s Top Ten Plays.
On Saturday, Furman football steamrolled VMI 49-13 to give them five wins in the last six games. Sophomore Devin Wynn rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns to help the Paladins generate a season high 590 yards of offense. With just one game left, Furman remains in the hunt for the SoCon title, but needs a win against Mercer to give them a chance.
Finally, Furman’s fabulous week concluded on Sunday with the men’s soccer SoCon Championship. Two goals from junior Emery May in the first half, as well as a late goal from junior Conor Sloan gave the Paladins a 3-0 victory over UNCG and title of SoCon champions. Laurence Wyke earned Most Outstanding Player honors in the tournament, and the championship is Furman’s first since 2015.