BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College women's soccer team needed extra time in its 2016 opener and the first varsity match on the new turf John Makuvek Field as the Greyhounds fell to Arcadia University, 2-1, in overtime.
The Hounds were playing their first-ever home night match under the lights installed this summer as part of the project to switch from natural grass to turf, and the Blue & Grey played before a crowd of over 500 spectators during the evening.
"I'm really happy with the effot tonight," stated Head Coach Jeff Ykoruk. "You obviously don't want to lose your season opener but compared to where we were walking off the field at this point last season, we definitely feel better. Scheduling a team that will be ranked in the region and maybe even the country, and being able to play soccer with them is really pleasing for our team and our players. We talked more about getting on the field next week after the game than we did about the loss."
The Knights controlled play early and hit a cross bar in the seventh minute. However, Moravian responded as junior Abby Guman put a shot on goal in the ninth minute. The teams would be tied after 45 minutes of action with junior goalie Jessica Lawton making four saves while being aggressive in coming off of her line.
Arcadia would snap the scoreless tie in the 72nd minute on an unassisted goal but it would take the Greyhounds just 1:53 to tie the match as sophomore forward Gabbby Stelzmiller was sent in down the right side of the field by Guman and hit a long shot across to the left side of the goal for her first tally of the season.
"The first thing we did in the pregame speech was pencil in adversity up on the board because we knew you'd have to battle through adversity," commented Ykoruk. "There is no better way than to go down a goal and respond with a goal quickly. That is fighting through adversity, and that is the sign of a character team. We need to get better with that but when you play against really tough teams, you're going to be on the back end of things, and when you respond with a positive thing like a goal, it is exciting for the team."
Lawton would make three saves in the final 11:26 of regulation as the score remained tied. The Knights would break the tie just 2:16 into the first overtime. Lawton finished the contest with seven saves as she made her first career start.
"Jess is a gamer. She trains hard but when she gets into a game, she gets herself to another level," noted Ykoruk. "There are some keepers that shrink a little bit in a big moments but she is the opposite and tries to play even harder."
Moravian is slated to return to action on Wednesday, September 7 when the squad will play its home opener on the new turf John Makuvek Field as the Blue and Grey host Immaculata University at 7:30 p.m.