WASHINGTON, D.C. – The University of Scranton women's soccer team was less than seven minutes from a victory in the Landmark Conference championship on Saturday, but top-seeded Catholic showed why it has lost just twice this season, scoring twice in a 34-second span to stun the Royals, 3-2, in the title match.
The Royals (13-4-2) held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but Catholic (16-2) showed its offensive firepower when it mattered most to claim its second straight conference title. The Cardinals defeated the Royals in last year's title match, 1-0.
Junior midfielder Christina Akalski (Long Beach, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) gave Scranton a 1-0 lead in the first half when she scored in the 13th minute on an assist by fellow junior midfielder Kelly Egan (Essex Fells, N.J./West Essex). Scranton took that 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to seven first-half saves by junior goalkeeper Krissy Welsh (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven).
Catholic tied the score with a goal in the 54th minute, but Egan had a response in the 61st minute when she scored her eighth goal of the season and second of the playoffs.
Scranton held the narrow 2-1 lead for most of the second half until Catholic pulled even with a goal at the 83:43 mark. Before the Royals could catch their breath, the Cardinals took the lead at the 84:17 mark and held on from there.
Catholic finished the game with a 20-8 edge in shots and 5-2 in corner kicks. Welsh finished the afternoon with a season-high 10 saves, and junior forward Kelsey Bacon (Macungie, Pa./Emmaus) led the Royals with three shots.
Scranton was making its sixth straight Landmark Conference championship appearance and seventh overall. The Royals had won the title four times – 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Scranton will now wait til Monday to find out if the team will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The field is scheduled to be announced at 1 p.m. The Royals are ranked eighth in the Mid-Atlantic region rankings on NCAA.com.