WILSON, N.C. – Despite a Herculean effort from sophomore forward Rachel Thorpe, the King University women's soccer team fell in an overtime stunner 3-2 to Barton College on Saturday afternoon.
Thorpe netted both Tornado goals in the contest, scoring twice in the first half to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 advantage. It was her third multi-goal match of the season and second in the last three contests.
The game started inauspiciously for the Tornado, who are now 4-9-2 on the season and 1-4-2 in Conference Carolinas play. Barton's Kathryn Smith netted her third goal of the season less than three minutes into the match on a pass from Taylor Parrish that she shot from near the goal on the right wing.
But the Tornado would come roaring back moments later. Lindsay Curtis played a long cross into the box for Thorpe, who placed a shot just inside the post in the 14th minute to tie the score at one goal apiece.
Thorpe would find the net for the second time in the game and tenth time of the season in the 38th minute. She drove down the field from the midfield stripe and fired a shot from 30 yards out that eluded the goalkeeper and gave King a 2-1 advantage.
It was the third straight game with a goal for the sophomore from Ontario, Canada. In an eight-game span dating back to a September 28 win over Virginia Intermont, Thorpe has scored in six different matches, totaling nine of her ten goals on the season. The Tornado are 3-3-2 in that eight-game stretch.
Barton (11-5, 5-3) had many chances in the first half but only came away with one goal. The Bulldogs held an 11-6 advantage in shots in the first half, but a combined seven saves between Nicole Dagher and Morgan Lawson in the period allowed King to maintain its lead.
The Tornado came out in the second half looking to pressure Barton's defense, firing off three quick shots early in the period. But it was the Bulldogs who would get a goal to draw even, scoring on a Parrish shot from inside the box that came off a pass at midfield from Adrianna Jimenez. The 69th-minute equalizer tied the score at two and gave Barton new life.
In the 12 minutes after Barton tied the match, King took five shots, forcing Bulldog goalkeeper Carson Moore to make three saves. But the Tornado were unable to take the lead and the game went into overtime.
In the two overtime periods, King was unable to muster a shot while allowing five to Barton. Lawson, a first-half replacement in goal for Dagher, made three saves in overtime, but was unable to stop Smith's second score of the match that was sent across the goal into the upper left corner with less than two minutes remaining in overtime.
"It was a very gutsy performance for us," said head coach Simon Duffy after the match. "We were solid all over the field, but lacked focus on all three goals. They did a good job to capitalize on our mistakes. Giving up the last one with less than two minutes to go is a killer. But that's a very good Barton team we played today, and now we have to pick ourselves up and win these last two games to guarantee a spot in the conference tournament."
The Tornado return to action on Wednesday afternoon, traveling to Spartanburg, S.C. for a 5:00 p.m. match against Converse College. King will then hold its Senior Day festivities as it hosts Mount Olive on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., potentially with a postseason berth on the line.