Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Gallagher’s Second Overtime Free Ball Goal Lifts Misericorida over Wilkes Women’s Soccer in the MAC Freedom Championship

EDWARDSVILLE – Alex Gallagher scored on a free kick that bounced off the crossbar with 7:03 left in the second overtime to lift Misericordia University to the Middle Atlantic Conference Freedom (MAC Freedom) tournament championship by a 1-0 final over the Wilkes University women’s soccer team at Schmidt Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Cougars earned the first opportunity of the game on a shot by McKenzie 
Ruffing in the seventh minute that was blocked in front by Catherine Gregoire.

Wilkes got its first chance in the 15th minute when Megan Lercara played a free ball following a Misericordia foul that was played on goal inside the box by Emily 
Wirth that appeared to give the Lady Colonels a goal but was called off after the official ruled that the Cougars goalkeeper had control of the ball before Wilkes knocked it loose.

Misericordia’s Gallagher lofted a shot towards Wilkes’ goal in the 43rd minute that floated just over the crossbar as the score remained 0-0 heading into halftime.

The Cougars controlled possession for most of the first 15 minutes of the second half but it was the Lady Colonels who had the best opportunity when Jessica Egan found Nicolette Towlen in the right corner appearing to be trapped by a Misericordia defender but broke loose and found Elise Brubaker who dribbled past a defender and found herself in front of the net for a shot but had it blocked by a defender. On the ensuing corner kick, Elena Denger put a low liner into the box that bounced around before being played out by a Cougar defender to the middle of the field where Aislinn Speranza launched a rocket from 25 yards out that had eyes for the top of the net before Cougars’ goalkeeper Alyssa Pojero knocked it just over the crossbar for another Wilkes corner kick.

Following the second corner, Misericordia raced up the field to set up a shot from Alex Gallagher that went wide left.

In the 70th minute, the Lady Colonels earned a throw in from Wirth that was taken by Brubaker and played into the box where Towlen found herself all alone for a shot but was stopped by Pojero to preserve the scoreless tie.

Misericordia found itself on a rush in the 72nd minute when Gallagher came up the field with a Cougar to her left but chose to try and go around Catherine Gregoire, who pushed her off to the right where Gallagher put a shot on Stanley who was able to catch it chest-high.

Niamh Harkins made a key defensive play in the 73rd minute when Jacquline Stevens found herself coming up the left sideline but Harkins was able to push her off course where Stevens played a ball towards the net that Stanley scooped up harmlessly.

The Cougars kept the pressure on in the 80th minute, when a Misericordia midfielder played a bouncer on goal that Stanley hesitated on before coming out and jumping over Jordyn Powell who was called for a foul. Later in that minute, Ashley Edgell hit a shot from thirty yards out that flew wide right.

In the 88th minute, Stevens had another opportunity when she hit a shot that went over Stanley but caromed off the crossbar and sailed out of play.

Dianna Connor gave the Lady Colonels a chance with just eight seconds remaining when she found the ball inside the box with just Pojero to beat but Misericordia’s keeper played it well as Connor’s shot went out of bounds and both teams ended regulation with identical 0-0 scores.

Wilkes had a defensive breakdown in the first minute of overtime when Gallagher was found wide open all alone and beat Stanley but misplayed her dribble and the ball went wide right.

Wirth gave the Lady Colonels their first chance of the first overtime when Nicole Harmer raced up the right side and passed back to 30 yards out for a shot that appeared to be tailing left forcing Pojero to make a diving stop.

Connor had another chance with 13 seconds left in the first overtime but Pojero was up to the task as the score remained tied through the first 100 minutes.

The Cougars put the winning goal home on Gallagher’s free ball with 7:03 remaining in the second overtime to lift Misericordia to the championship.

The Lady Colonels will now await the either an NCAA at-large or an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) bid this week.

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