The University of Scranton women's soccer team was looking for its third straight Landmark Conference title on Saturday against Susquehanna, but the Royals came up short by the slimmest of margins, losing a penalty kick shootout after playing the River Hawks to a 1-1 tie in double overtime in the championship match at Weiss Field.
The game is officially recorded as a tie, which puts the Royals at 15-1-3. They will wait to find out if they receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament when the field is announced on Monday at 1:30 p.m.
Susquehanna (13-3-3) won the penalty kick shootout, 5-4. Each team converted its first three tries before the River Hawks converted in the fourth round after Scranton missed. The Royals evened the shootout to start the fifth round, but Susquehanna also converted to earn the conference title.
For nearly 87 minutes, it appeared as if Scranton would capture its seventh Landmark Conference title overall. The Royals took the lead in the 12th minute when freshman midfielder Steph Lowrey (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) knocked home the rebound of a shot by senior forward Jamie Hreniuk (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) that had been saved.
The goal was Lowrey's third of the season and gives her 12 points on the season. Hreniuk earned her second assist and now has 22 points.
Both teams had other chances to score in the first half, but Scranton held that 1-0 lead at the break. The second half settled into a battle of Susquehanna trying to come forward against the stout Scranton defense. But with less than 10 minutes to go, the Royals built some pressure and eventually had a good scoring chance, but a shot hit the crossbar, denying a chance at a 2-0 lead.
It turned out costly as Susquehanna found the equalizer with 3:23 left in regulation. It was the River Hawks' only shot on goal of the half.
In both overtimes, Scranton was on its front foot for almost the entirety of the 20 minutes. The best chance came in the second overtime when a low shot skidded just inches outside the left post. The Royals finished with an 8-1 edge in shots in the two overtime periods and 23-9 for the game.
Scranton will be hoping for an at-large bid on Monday, which would mark the program's third straight NCAA appearance and 18th overall. Last season, the Royals reached the second round.