Courtesy of the Landmark Conference
TOWSON, Md. – The 2016-17 season marks the 10-year anniversary for the Landmark Conference. As part of the buildup to each sport's championship season, fans were asked to select their favorite moment from the first decade from a list created by members of the conference. Each winning moment will be announced prior to the conference championship.
After the final round of voting, the golden goal by then junior midfielder Kelly Egan (Essex Fells, N.J./West Essex) for The University of Scranton in a Landmark Conference semifinal on Nov. 4, 2015, received 51 percent of the votes to win the top women's soccer moment. Scranton narrowly edged out Catholic's top moment of scoring two goals in the final minutes of play to win their second consecutive title in the 2015 Championship match, received 48 percent of the fan's votes. Drew's 2013 title game, where the Rangers won the title over Scranton in a shootout, came in third.
"Kelly Egan's goal in double overtime of the Landmark Conference semifinals last year was one of the most exciting moments I've had in my career as a coach," said head coach Colleen Pivitotto. "It was an intense game, so we knew it was going to take something special to win. With less than two minutes to play in the game, we had one last opportunity to win and we executed the set piece perfectly."
Egan delivered one of the most dramatic goals in recent University of Scranton women's soccer history last season in the, playing the hero for the second time in four days. Egan's goal with 1:40 left in double overtime gave Scranton a 1-0 victory over Elizabethtown to punch the ticket to the championship.
The stunning goal was set up by two great passes by midfielder Taylor Stevens (Yardley, Pa./Villa Joseph Marie) and defender Carolyn Warner (Morris Plains, N.J./Parsippany Hills). A foul on Elizabethtown gave the Royals a free kick just inside midfield, and Stevens took advantage by delivering a beautiful ball just short of the left post. Warner was there and perfectly volleyed the ball across the front of the goal where Egan was waiting, and she tucked her shot inside the right post to set off a wild celebration that saw the entire team celebrate with the student section along the sideline.
"I remember that we were going out on the field (at the start of the second overtime) and saying we were not going into penalty kicks," said Egan. "Before the free kick was taken, I don't remember looking at the time and how much time was left. Taylor hit the perfect free kick that Carolyn redirected perfectly and I was just in the right spot."
The play came less than a minute after the Royals had three shots right in front of the goal, but could not convert. Stevens and Egan had the first two, but Elizabethtown senior goalkeeper Dana Robidoux made tremendous saves on both and was able to pop back to her feet to force the third shot to sail high from Royals forward Sarah Andrews (Mountain Top, Pa./Crestwood).
But it was just 40 seconds later when Stevens, Warner and Egan combined to give the Royals the win, which came four days after Egan scored in overtime to give Scranton a 1-0 win in the regular season finale at Elizabethtown. It also marked the third straight time the Royals beat the Blue Jays in extra time. They also posted a 2-1 victory at Elizabethtown in a Landmark Conference semifinal in 2014.
"I just started running and everyone stormed the field, which was crazy," said Egan. "I remember after that, I looked at the time and there was almost no time left. The game before (the regular season finale against Elizabethtown), we scored in the first overtime. Since this game had so much emotion built from the last game, it kind of made it more special and more exciting that we were able to beat them twice in overtime."
The thrilling victory was also a milestone for head coach Colleen Pivirotto, who picked up her 100th career victory, giving her a career record of 100-42-8 in seven-plus seasons following the win. The 13 victories marked the fifth time in her eight seasons (now six out of nine) that the Royals have won at least 13 games. It also was the sixth straight season she has led the Royals to the Landmark Conference championship.
"The fans storming the field after the goal was something that we will never forget," said Pivirotto. "Adding to the celebration was that the win was my 100th as a coach at Scranton, and I couldn't think of a better moment to have than that one!"
Despite the 0-0 score for more than 108 minutes, the game included some action throughout. The Blue Jays held a 4-2 edge in shots in the first half, but Scranton nearly took the lead in the 19th minute when Royals forward Gianna Vitolo (Denville, N.J./Morris Knolls) got free on the right side of the box, but her shot clanged off the crossbar.
Elizabethtown had its near miss in the 80th minute when a shot hit the crossbar in nearly the same spot as Vitolo's on the same end of the field. Each team finished the second half with four shots apiece, but there was just one save in the first 90 minutes, that coming in the 83rd minute when Scranton junior goalkeeper Krissy Welsh (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven) corralled a shot from outside 20 yards.
Welsh made a pair of saves in the first overtime, including one on a header from about five yards out when she was in perfect position.