Women’s Soccer: Owls advance to quarterfinals of C-USA tournament after beating Charlotte in penalty shootout

The Owls endured their eighth overtime game of the season, but Amit Cohen’s crucial penalty save will result in a quarterfinal rematch with Southern Miss.


Eston Parker III

Amit Cohen reacts to a crucial save against UTEP on November 1, 2021.

Eston Parker III, Photo Editor

The FAU women’s soccer team (6-6-5, 4-2-2 C-USA) opened up their run in the C-USA tournament in thrilling fashion on Monday night against the Charlotte 49ers (7-5-4, 3-2-3 C-USA). Similar to the previous matchup between FAU and Charlotte in September, the game went to overtime, yet this match was decided by penalties in favor of FAU.


The Owls came out swinging early on in the match with graduate forward Bri Austin taking the first shot late in the 12th minute. 


Almost immediately after, the Owls struck first with a goal coming from senior forward Miracle Porter. Porter bagged her sixth goal of the season, her second against Charlotte and was assisted by senior midfielder Sammy Vitols.


FAU continued to attack Charlotte’s goal, as Austin attempted another shot in the 15th minute but was unsuccessful.


The Owls pushed hard to try and secure a second goal before the end of the half, attempting four shots following the initial goal and putting consistent pressure on Charlotte’s defense.


Charlotte only attempted four shots during the first half, with the first one saved by freshman goalkeeper Amit Cohen.


Both teams played aggressively even though Charlotte committed six fouls to FAU’s one before the end of the first half. 


The second half began with a bang. Following an initial shot by redshirt junior midfielder Gi Krstec in the first minute of action, Charlotte equalized just before the 50-minute mark with  sophomore midfielder Piper Biziorek’s sixth goal of the season. 


FAU responded with determination to regain the lead as Austin attempted another shot, which was immediately followed up with a Charlotte handball resulting in a penalty for the Owls.


Senior midfielder Emma Grissom stepped up to the line to take the penalty and swiftly brought back the lead for the Owls in the 54th minute. The goal was Grissom’s first of the season and is only her second in her career at FAU.


FAU continued attempting to secure another goal shortly after their second with Austin attempting two consecutive shots, one of which was saved by Charlotte’s fifth-year goalkeeper Abby Stapleton. 


Charlotte also pushed hard for an equalizer, forcing Cohen to make her second save of the night in the 61st minute following a shot from junior midfielder Julia Patrum.


Unfortunately for FAU, Charlotte eventually equalized again in the 64th minute via senior forward Haley Shand. Shand was assisted by Piper Bizorek.


Both teams worked towards securing a lead before the end of regulation, but neither side broke the deadlock despite close calls. 


FAU came close in the 77th minute as Krstec forced Stapleton to make another save, yet Charlotte attempted three more shots after their equalizer which  all missed the net.


The game then entered what has become familiar territory for FAU women’s soccer: overtime. It was their eighth overtime match of the season, yet they weren’t able to secure the victory in OT despite four shots, including two coming from Austin.


The game was eventually decided via a lively penalty shootout (5-4) in which Cohen made the game-winning save to secure FAU’s place in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Ironically, Cohen saved a shot which came from Stapleton.


The victory for the Owls means their journey in the C-USA tournament continues into Wednesday, as they will square off against Southern Miss at 7 p.m. in Boca Raton. 


This will be the first matchup between the teams since last season’s C-USA tournament where the Owls were eliminated in a gut-wrenching 2-1 defeat. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.


Eston Parker is the photo editor for the University Press. For more information on this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @estonparker.