PHILADELPHIA -For the second year in a row, the University of Pennsylvania women’s soccer team overcame a two-goal deficit against Old Dominion. Unlike last year, when the Quakers settled for a tie with the Lady Monarchs, on Sunday freshman Kristen Miller scored late in the first overtime period to propel the Red and Blue to a 3-2 win at Rhodes Field.
With the clock counting down to the final seconds of the first overtime, a mishit shot from directly in front of the goal bounced to Miller about 10 yards away from the end line outside the right post. The freshman calmly settled the ball into a manageable position, then volleyed a right-footed shot that easily beat ODU goalkeeper Meredith Lenox and dented the netting inside the far post.
That set off a huge celebration -- and likely a huge sigh of relief. Penn was fighting uphill almost the entire match on Sunday.
ODU stunned the Quakers and their home crowd quickly, as Melanie Oakes played a ball across the goalmouth from the right side and Grace Haverly finished it inside the far post less than five minutes in.
The Lady Monarchs doubled their lead in the 19th minute. A long ball was played down the left wing, where ODU’s Madison Hogan was able to win the 50/50 ball against a Penn defender. She then pulled it back to the middle, and put a shot from about 20 yards out that went over the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Katherine Myhre but under the crossbar.
Penn looked like it might get one of those goals back before halftime, but some rotten luck kept it at 2-0. Natasha Davenport was able to beat Lenox, but her shot was deflected off the mark by the ODU keeper. Juliana Provini was left with a sitter, but reached out for the ball and ended up sending her shot almost straight up and off the crossbar.
Just past the hour mark, Erin Mikolai tested Lenox with a free kick just outside the box, but Lenox dove to her right and was able to push the shot wide to keep the Quakers off the board.
It was Lindsey Sawczuk who finally broke through for Penn. She collected a ball directly in front of the goalabout 25 yards out, and lofted a left-footed shot that was just out of Lenox’s reach and tucked inside the left post. Just like that, it was 2-1 and game on.
With approximately 14 minutes left, head coach Darren Ambrose made an offensive substitution by putting forward Anna Estep on in place of defender Lauren Hammond. The move paid an immediate dividend, as a long throw-in by Jill Kennedy from the right side was flicked at the near post by Haley Cooper. Estep was there to receive the flick, and she booteda shotjust inside the near post under the crossbar to tie things up.
Clara Midgley had a chance to win it in regulation, but her shot was stopped by Lenox. However, Lenox had no chance against Miller with mere seconds left in the first extra period.
Myhre made one save in her half of play on Sunday; in the second half and overtime, Kalijah Terilli played in the goal and came up with two big saves in a row to keep Penn in it.
Penn is home again on Thursday, hosting Saint Francis (Pa.) at 7 p.m..
Download: Penn02 (ODU).pdf