BETHLEHEM, Pa. – It was an emotional roller coaster for the Moravian College women's soccer team on Saturday, with an incredible match against Goucher College ending in a 3-3 double overtime draw serving as a side story at the end of the day.
The Greyhounds (7-9-3, 2-2-2 Landmark) and Gophers ended the 2013 regular season on the HUB Quad Saturday afternoon in a Win-and-In match for both sides. A victory by either side would have immediately clinched a Landmark Conference tournament berth. After the draw, and Moravian's fourth consecutive overtime match, the Greyhounds were still in contention, but needed some help from one of their biggest conference rivals.
The University of Scranton needed to beat or tie The Catholic University of America on Saturday to punch the Greyhounds' ticket to the postseason. The Royals-Cardinals match ended in a 1-1 draw after double overtime, and Moravian clinched the No. 4 seed in the tournament.
Saturday also marked Senior Day for the women's soccer club as the HUB Quad saw the final matches from goalkeeper Genevieve Chaleff, forward Caroline Clark and midfielder and co-captain Taylor DiSora. Head coach Brienne Smith was giving a talk at the Senior Day after party with friends and family when they received the good news.
"It was a great moment," Smith said. "At the party, we knew that the overtime at Scranton was winding down. Then someone yelled from the back, 'We're in!' We feel very strongly that we belong there. The the game was up-and-down, then we had to watch Scranton and Catholic in overtime. It took a while today to finally breathe."
The Greyhounds were breathing comfortably in the first half against Goucher on Saturday as they got out to a 2-0 lead on a double-dip from junior forward Kirsten Schall. Clark assisted both of Schall's goals. The first in the game's 5th minute, was also assisted by sophomore defender Marlene Lopes, who played a long ball into the box.
Clark settled the ball to Schall, who scored her 10th goal of the season for the 1-0 lead.
In the 17th minute, Clark played a perfect ball into the Goucher box to Schall, who took a quick turn and bent a beautiful ball into the upper left 90s of the Gophers' net to put the Greyhounds up 2-0.
"It was an absolutely beautiful goal," Smith said, "and she's had goals like that throughout her career. She's been beat up this year by defenses, but she continues to shine despite being keyed on by her opponents."
The Gophers quickly got back into the match, scoring 17 seconds after Schall's second goal, and notching the equalizer in the 44th minute.
In the second half, Schall helped the Greyhounds take the lead once again in the 55th minute. At the corner flag, Moravian's corner kick specialist sent a ball to her favorite set-play target in freshman defender Christine Miklas, who volleyed it home for her sixth goal of the season and the 3-2 lead.
Goucher responded again, however, in the 60th minute to tie the score at three apiece. The Gophers scored three goals on their first three shots of the match.
"It seems to be a pattern," Smith said. "We have to figure that out quickly. We do such a good job in possession, but it's the small moments of lapse that end up hurting us. There are a lot of positives to take from this match, though. All of our goals were incredible. Miklas against came through in a high-pressure situation. As a freshman, to be able to play that role as a model of consistency is amazing. She's come a long way."
The match went to overtime, and Miklas had the best chance at a Golden Goal in the first period of extra time. Schall again found Miklas on a set play deep into Goucher territory, but her header was saved by the Gophers' goalie.
Schall had a chance at a second-straight match with a Golden Goal, but her shot in the 109th minute was blocked and the match ended in a draw.
Scranton may have helped the Greyhounds on Saturday, but now they are the opponent heading into the conference playoffs. Moravian is the No. 4 seed and will travel to No. 1 Scranton on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. for the Landmark Conference semifinals. The championship is set for Saturday, Nov. 9 at the home of the highest remaining seed.