The Elizabethtown College women’s soccer team found themselves in a good position heading into Saturday’s game at the University of Scranton. The final game of the regular season had a lot at stake for both the Blue Jays and the Royals. The Blue Jays’ task was simple: win and Etown would wrap up the second seed for the Landmark Conference Championships in their first season in the conference. The two-seed would give the Blue Jays a home game for the conference semifinals. A Scranton victory would give the Royals the two-seed and drop the Blue Jays into the third seed.
One thing was known for sure. Win or lose, the Blue Jays would face Scranton again in the conference semifinals. What was at stake was where the game would be played.
The Blue Jays, who were picked as the favorites to win the regular season Landmark Championship, found themselves in an early hole on the road. Just four minutes into the game, Scranton’s Sarah Andrews put the host Royals in the lead. She followed up her early goal by scoring her second of the game in the 22nd minute to give Scranton a 2-0 lead over the visiting Blue Jays.
With playoff seeding on the line, the Blue Jays kicked it into a different gear after Andrews gave the Royals a two-goal lead. Junior Deanna Slater cut the deficit to 2-1 in the 30th minute off an assist from junior Lauren Berry. Etown went into halftime trailing by one goal.
The Blue Jays came out of halftime on the attack, with Berry netting her 10th goal of the season to tie the game at two in the 47th minute. The goal would be the second of four unanswered Blue Jay goals.
In the 70th minute, sophomore Morgan Chambers scored her first goal of the season to give Etown a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish. Chambers’ first goal was assisted by fellow sophomore Maddie Burkhardt.
With a one-goal lead late in the game, Berry scored on a penalty kick in the 88th minute to give the Blue Jays an important insurance goal. Seconds before the final whistle, Scranton scored its third goal of the game to bring the deficit back within one, but time ran out on the Royals.
Junior goalkeeper Dana Robidoux made one save, earning the team’s 13th win of the season.
With the victory, the Blue Jays clinched the second seed in the Landmark Conference playoffs. The loss kept Scranton in the third seed. The result meant that Scranton had to travel to Etown for the semifinals last night at Ira R. Herr Field.
In their second meeting in five days, the Royals and Blue Jays once again fought until the bitter end. In their last contest, the teams combined for seven goals. This time around, both teams entered overtime tied at one.
In the 10th minute of action, Scranton’s Gianna Vitolo put the Royals ahead 1-0. However, the lead did not last long as Berry found the back of the net for her 12th goal of the season to tie the game at one. Junior Kaceyanne Cerankowski assisted Berry’s goal to tie the game.
Neither team could find the back of the net for the rest of regulation, sending the game to overtime.
Two minutes into overtime, Scranton broke through and ended the game. In the 92nd minute, Christina Akalski gave Scranton the victory. The Royals will play Catholic University for the Landmark Conference Championship on Saturday.
The Blue Jays have a shot at receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament based on their 13-4 record this season. The loss snapped Etown’s eight-game winning streak and was their first loss at home this year.