Freshman Clint Ritter netted a goal and added an assist as 19th-ranked Furman downed College of Charleston, 2-1, in the opening round of the Southern Conference Tournament on Sunday evening at Stone Stadium. The Paladins advance to face seventh-seeded Elon in the semifinals on Friday, November 11, at 6:30 p.m. in Boone, N.C.
With the victory, their third straight, the Paladins extended their unbeaten streak to eight matches and improved to 14-2-4 on the season.
Ritter, a native of Cedar Hill, Texas, helped Furman open the scoring just 13 seconds before the half hour mark. Martin Ontiveros played a short corner kick to Ritter and the winger served a cross to the top of the six-yard box where fellow freshman Walker Zimmerman headed home his fifth goal of the season.
Furman came close to doubling its lead as Zimmerman hit the cross bar before the half and had another header saved off of the line by a Cougar defender early in the second half. Ritter finally added the insurance goal the Paladins needed at 66:40. Danny Hojaij received a pass in space near the top of the box and rocketed a shot towards net that rebounded to Ritter who deposited his chance into net for his second goal of the season.
College of Charleston (5-8-5) trimmed the lead in half just four minutes later as Sean de Silva bounced a ball off of the post that George Khoury finished into the top of the net from close range at 70:42.
Both teams created opportunities in the final minutes, but senior Alec Kann and the Furman defense held to preserve the Paladins eighth victory at home during the 2011 campaign. Kann notched two saves to earn the victory while Charleston keeper Kees Heemskerk recorded four saves for the Cougars.
Furman compiled a commanding 16-7 edge in shots and 7-3 advantage in shots on goal while earning seven corner kicks to just three for CofC.
The Paladins semifinal match against Elon on Friday will follow the opening semifinal featuring top-seed UNC Greensboro and host Appalachian State at 4 p.m.