Written by Jonny Stevens
Seventh-seeded Simmons College defeated the second-seeded Albertus Magnus women's soccer team 3-2 in a shootout after 110 minutes of hard play could not separate the two sides Saturday afternoon at Celentano Field in GNAC Tournament Quarterfinal action.
It was a hard fought game for both teams as neither side would let up, flying into 50/50 balls and giving 100% effort.
There were limited chances throughout the entire match with most of the game being played in the middle of the field. Both teams had a few opportunities from 30-yards out but never troubled the goalkeepers.
In the 38th minute, Meghan Loughman (Trumbull, Conn.) flew into a challenge and won the ball in the final third sending the ball straight up into the air. On the way down, the ball struck the crossbar and bounced to the foot of Loughman who took another chance. Unfortunately, Briana Hayes was up to the task and made a great diving save to keep the game scoreless.
The first half ended with slight advantage for the Falcons in shots 7-6.
The Sharks offside trap proved to be a bit of a headache for the Falcons as they were caught offsides 10 times throughout the contest. In the 62nd minute however, the Falcons timed a run perfectly as Meaghan Skidmore (Terryville, Conn.) was put through on a bouncing ball from her sister, Shannon. Meaghan took the ball off the bounce and rocketed a shot over the crossbar.
The second half ended 0-0 and the teams geared up for overtime.
Overtime was just as even as the rest of the game. The game was very end to end, with both teams very urgent to score the game winner. There were only three total shots on goal in the overtime periods with the Falcons outshooting the Sharks 2-1.
As both teams geared up for shootout, Celentano Field was at a standstill, quiet with anticipation. Senior striker Shannon Skidmore (Terryville, Conn.) stepped up to take the first penalty shot, hit it to the right of the goalkeeper who sprung towards the ball and made the save.
Ali Berkman for the Sharks was next to take the penalties. She approached the ball and hit it along the ground just outside the right post missing the frame.
In the second round, Loughman was set to take the penalty but pushed it high and wide of the crossbar. Tasha Friedman then capitalized on her shot as she buried it high above the diving Maria Case (West Haven, Conn.) who was fantastic between the pipes all season. Simmons led 1-0 after two rounds.
Amanda Roke (Cheshire, Conn.) took the third kick for the Falcons and drilled a shot past Hayes. Case added to the third round with a fantastic diving save to tie the score at 1-1 after three rounds.
In the fourth round, Meaghan Skidmore buried a shot as the keeper guessed the wrong way. This was the first Falcons' lead of the shootout. Tegan Dougherty quickly answered with a goal of her own and the score was tied 2-2 after four rounds.
Danielle Polvan (East Haven, Conn.) stepped up to take her shot. Hayes made her second save of the shootout guessing the right side again and making the stop.
Finally, Kristyn Heuslein buried the game-winner just above the diving Case who guessed right but just couldn't get a fingertip to the shot.
The Simmons Sharks advance to the semifinals of the GNAC Tournament and will face the winner of the Suffolk/Saint Joseph's College of Maine contest.