SOMERSET, N.J. – Senior midfielder Meghan Murray scored the game-winning goal with 51 seconds left in overtime to give Saint Elizabeth an 18-17 victory over Elms in the opening game of the season on a blustery cold Thursday afternoon at Soccer Centers.
The Screaming Eagles (1-0) trailed visiting Elms (1-2) by a score of 17-15 with under five minutes on the clock. The Elms goalie was whistled for a foul on cutting midfielder Christina Rios and the CSE junior converted the ensuing free-position to get the Screaming Eagles within one goal with 3:52 left in regulation.
Thirty seconds later, CSE sophomore Dana Mortensen scooped up an Elms turnover and the Screaming Eagles transitioned into the offensive zone and earned another free-position opportunity.
Murray toed the arc with 2:39 showing on the clock and calmly found the back of the net to tie the game at 17-all. It was her eighth goal of the game.
It was the first time CSE had tied the score since halftime.
As the sun set on a chilly spring afternoon, the two teams headed into the six-minute overtime.
Elms won all three draw controls in the extra session, yet seven turnovers afforded CSE more chances to score.
The game-winning sequence began when the Screaming Eagles defense forced an Elms turnover just inside the Elms offensive zone. Rios secured a loose ball, and after a foul, outleted the ball to Mortensen who darted up the sideline to clear the midfield.
The attack worked the ball around to Murray on the left side. The CSE senior, given an advantage after getting fouled 20 yards from the Elms cage, needed just three quick steps to beat the Elms goalie to the inside post for a one-goal lead in the extra session
Elms won the draw, but Rios caused another turnover (she had six on the afternoon) and the Screaming Eagles converted its fifth clear of the extra session and ran out the time for the victory.
The win stands as the first victory for new Saint Elizabeth head coach Charlie Spinelli, who had been an assistant for xx years to Ahmet Kose who started the CSE lax program in 2009.
Murray netted a career-high nine goals on 13 shots for the afternoon while also securing nine draw controls. Classmate Cassidy Crane also set a new career-best with seven goals. Christina Rios netted her first goal of the season while scooping up a team-best eight ground balls.
Defender Nicole Rios had a team-high seven caused turnovers to go along with six groundballs while freshman attack Amanda Inacio netted her first collegiate goal.
CSE senior goalie Barbara Beresova posted nine saves for the victory. Her counterpart between the pipes for Elms, Alysa Parsons, made 13 saves.
Midfielder Nora McDonough led Elms with six goals while attack Chelsey Grabowski added five goals and six draw controls.
The Screaming Eagles host another non-conference opponent, Cedar Crest, in their next game, a home contest on Thursday at Soccer Centers. The first draw is scheduled for 3 p.m.