|Sydney Parker||Katie Hennigan|
ADA, Ohio -- The University of Scranton women’s soccer team battled for more than 90 minutes with nationally ranked Ohio Northern before the Polar Bears broke through in overtime for a 1-0 victory in an NCAA Division III Tournament first-round match on Saturday.
Ohio Northern struck when freshman midfielder Kristina Klusek (Canton, Mich.) volleyed home a perfect pass over the top of the Scranton defense by sophomore forward Sami Atkinson (Hilliard, Ohio) just 4:36 into overtime. The goal was Klusek’s 12th of the season and sent the Polar Bears into a second-round match on Sunday.
Scranton (13-4-3) had numerous chances throughout the game, particularly in the first half when they had four shots, three on goal, while allowing just two and none on goal for Ohio Northern (16-2-2).
The Royals had nine shots in the game, including two in overtime, both of which were off the mark. Junior Sydney Parker (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) and sophomore midfielder Katie Hennigan (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) led Scranton with two shots a piece.
Scranton controlled action for the better part of the first half, aided by a strong wind at the Royals’ backs. But when the teams changed directions in the second half, so did momentum. After getting off just two shots in the opening 45 minutes, Ohio Northern had 10 in the second half. Sophomore goalie Kelsy McAnelly (West Chester, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) made five saves in the second half, including two in the closing minutes to keep the game tied.
The Polar Bears had two shots that nearly won the game late in regulation. The first glanced off the upper right corner while the second hit the crossbar squarely, but Scranton held on to force overtime.
Scranton is now 8-13 after making its 13th NCAA Tournament appearance and second in as many years. The Royals are now 0-1 against Ohio Northern.
The defeat brought an end to the careers of Scranton’s two seniors, midfielders Christina Cognetti (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) and Megan Heaslip (Basking Ridge, N.J./Ridge). Cognetti finishes her career with 10 goals and six assists while Heaslip has one career goal.