Freshman Jessica Goldman scores the game-winner in overtime. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)
Following their NJAC loss, the Lions traveled up to Geneva, N.Y., to compete in their 24th NCAA tournament. The team was able to win the first round game against Allegheny, 3-0, on Saturday, Nov. 15.
Senior Christine Levering said in these kind of games, every team needs to play with everything it has.
“Since its ‘if you lose you’re out,’ it makes every team come out like it could be their last,” she said. “The playoffs can be anyone’s game depending on who wants it more.”
The Lions played with this kind of mentality, as they came out swinging in the first half. Freshman Jessica Goldman was able to cross a free kick to Levering early on in the game and create a scoring opportunity, putting the Lions on top at 15:38.
The Lions continued to push against the Gator’s defense, getting past them and taking shots again and again.
It wasn’t too long before something finally gave once again, as Levering was able to beat two defenders and blast in another goal, giving the Lions a commanding lead at 32:21.
It wasn’t only the offense that was putting on a dominant display. The defense was able to keep the Gators to only two shots in the entire first half, compared to the Lions nine.
Once the first half ended, Allegheny picked itself up and started to push back hard against the college in the second.
In the first 15 minutes of the half, the Gators were able to take more shots than they were able to in the entire first.
However, the Lions were able to keep them back long enough for Levering to finish off a hat trick off a cross at the top of the box from sophomore Sarah Marion at 54:43.
The Gators continued to push, taking six shots to the Lions’ three, but Levering says this was all because of the team’s play style.
“I think in the second half we had the lead 2-0, so we were playing more defensively as opposed to the first half,” she said. “I feel like Allegheny had more energy coming out in the second half, but we were able to hold them off and get the win.”
Goalie Kendra Griffith, who had a total of four saves in the game, said the defense did a great job in keeping the Gator’s back.
“Allegheny definitely had their chances, and they were decent chances,” she said. “Our team did a great job keeping their aggressive nature to a minimum and controlling any situations that became dangerous.”
With that, the team was able to get past Allegheny in the first round and look toward the next day’s game on Sunday, Nov. 16, against William Smith College. Levering looked at it as another challenge.
“I think I have to come out just as strong as I did today because William Smith is not going to let us walk over them,” she said.
The Herons battled the Lion’s through two halves and two overtimes before the College was able to take the win, 2-0.
The first half was back and forth, each team having bursts in each other’s zone that showed how talented its offense was — both in terms of outmaneuvering the opposing defense and being able to work together with few mistakes as a unit.
But, the Lion’s were charged with a penalty midway through the first, leaving senior defender Brenna Kincaid able to sink her first goal of the season off a penalty kick at 28:40.
The half continued on with more of the same — the defense continued keeping the shots to a low count and each team kept getting chances at each other. The Lions were trying to get something started, but not before the 45-minute mark was reached.
The second started off almost the same, but with both team’s playing even harder on defense.
Both teams were able to take more shots in the second compared to the first, but it was the College that was able to sink the important goal.
The star of the last game, Levering was able to come through again and tie the game with a goal, her 15th of the season, from the far left sideline at 83:35.
With the score tied 1-1 at the end of the second, the game headed into overtime. These shorter periods were all Lions, as they had more shot attempts than William Smith in both the first and second overtimes.
Particularly in the second, where in the span of five minutes after its start, the team had three shots with one of them being the all-important one. Freshman Jessica Goldman was able make a shot from a corner kick, which slid in for the game winner at exactly 105:00.
With that, the Lions are moving on to the third round. Their next game is Saturday, Nov. 22, and they will be playing at Cole Field in Williamstown, MA at 1:30 p.m. against the Misericordia Cougars.