Lions advance to sweet 16 with win over Gettysburg

The College’s women’s soccer team rebounded from their New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship loss last week to defeat Gettysburg College 2-1 in their first game of the NCAA Division III tournament.

Two weeks ago, the College defeated Gettysburg with ease at Lions Stadium 4-0, but this game was a whole different story as emotions were running high for both teams, knowing a loss would put an end to each of their seasons.

The Lions found themselves in a precarious position early in the game when Gettysburg was the first to get on the board. Gettysburg’s Katie Myers struck first just 18 minutes into the game with her 21st goal of the year. That goal secured her in Gettysburg soccer history by setting the single-season record for goals.

Myers’ record-setting goal, however, put an end to the Lions’ scoreless streak. Junior goalkeeper Alissa Kacar had gone a total of 1069 straight minutes played without allowing a goal. Myer’s goal was the first to get past the Lions since their Sept. 25 game against Richard Stockton College.

Ten minutes after Myers’ goal, senior midfielder Linda O’Leary subbed in and scored a goal right away for the Lions, tying the game through halftime.

Just a minute and a half into the second half, the game-winning goal came for the Lions off of a corner kick. Freshman defender Courtney Krol’s corner kick found senior midfielder Stephanie Peters and she put it in the back of the net giving the Lions the 2-1 advantage.

That would prove to be the last goal of the game and it advanced the College into the next round of the tournament.

Head coach Joe Russo said his team played a solid game.

“I thought we played well,” Russo said. “We faced some adversity when we trailed early and I’m proud of the way they fought back. Our group is very resilient.”

Freshman forward Dana DiBruno was also proud of the way her team came back, and she said she knew it was going to be a lot tougher game than when the College met Gettysburg earlier this season.

“The first game we played very well against Gettysburg and they did not bring their best game,” DiBruno said. “This was a totally different situation since the season was on the line for both teams. Everyone was up for the game and we were all ready to do whatever it took to win the game.”

Russo said Kacar’s goaltending was great during the streak that was ended against Gettysburg, but it is the whole defense which has to be commended.

“As a group, I’m proud of the whole collective defensive effort this season,” Russo said. “They all have just played incredible.”

Freshman midfielder Jessy DeLuca said she is now ready for the road ahead. She says this is all new to her, but she loves it.

“This is completely different than high school because it is a much higher level of competition,” DeLuca said. “Everyone is so serious and dedicated to the team. We live soccer.”

Next up for the Lions on their road to the championship in North Carolina is the third-round game against Messiah College on Nov. 19. The time and the place of the game have yet to be determined.