After battling the Fighting Scots to a second tie this season following 110 minutes of play, the women’s soccer team out shot first-seeded Wooster 4-3 in penalty kicks to advance to the NCAC championship for the first time since 2000.
Emily Byers, ’14, put in the fourth penalty kick for the fourth-seeded Gators to clinch the victory following a Wooster miss.
“I look up right before I shoot to see if [the goalie] is leaning,” she said. “She was leaning to the right so I shot it low and hard to the left.”
The game started with a Wooster goal off of a corner kick early in the first, but Allegheny responded with a goal in the 25th minute off a free kick by Abby Silvester, ’11. The set play is one that the Gators have used many times this season. It involves Allegheny lining up players in front of the ball and then running at the opponent’s wall, confusing the keeper and giving Silvester a window to shoot for.
“All I have to do is place a well-driven ball,” she said.
The teams took a 1-1 tie into halftime, but six minutes into the second half, Silvester struck again on another free kick using the same play.
Wooster’s Paige Piper, who tied for first in the NCAC in goals this season, responded in the 58th minute with a blast from about thirty yards away.
Following both overtime periods, Emily Karr, ’12, gave the Gators an early lead by saving the first shot she faced in the shootout, admittedly with a little bit of luck.
“She put it low to my left side and I just guessed right,” she said.
The lead was short-lived, though, as Georgia Frost, ’12, missed high on the Gators’ first shot.
Allegheny and Wooster traded three straight goals, as Silvester, Alison Buzzard, ’14, and Molly Waggoner, ’11, each buried their opportunities.
A miss on Wooster’s fifth shot set the stage for Byers to play the hero.
“It was awesome to turn around and see all my teammates so happy, especially the seniors,” she said.
The team has already averted their attention to finals, which will be against either Wittenberg or Denison (pending the game decided after publication). Allegheny beat Denison 1-0 in the regular season while Wittenberg handed Allegheny its only loss of the year. Either way, the Gators will be on the road for the NCAC championship match this weekend.
“The whole team is happy with the outcome,” Silvester said. “But we’ve put this game behind us and are preparing for Saturday.”