By: Kyle C. Leach
SOMERSET, N.J. – St. Elizabeth junior Cassidy Crane volleyed home a corner kick in the 105th minute to send the Screaming Eagles to a thrilling 2-1 double overtime come-from-behind victory over Wells College on Sunday afternoon in North Eastern Athletic Conference action at Soccer Centers.
After trailing 1-0 for nearly 65 minutes despite out-shooting Wells on a blustery day, the Screaming Eagles scored the equalizer with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
The tying goal started with a long throw-in down the right side of the field. Junior captain Kelly O’Dell beat the Wells defender to the ball down and before it crossed the end line, O’Dell sent a pass across the goal mouth. Freshman Valerie Lasko, unmarked on the back post, used her chest to re-direct the pass into the goal at 87:47 for her team-leading fifth goal of the season. O’Dell was credited with her first assist of the season.
The St. Elizabeth defense, led by junior centerback Meghan Murray, goalkeeper Catherine De La Cruz and sophomore left back Nicole Rios, made plays to give the Screaming Eagles a chance to come back.
In the first half, Wells forward Paige Stone took three point-blank shots at the CSE net with De La Cruz caught out of position. Rios used her body to block all three shot attempts from going in the net and the Screaming Eagles cleared the ball without any damage.
De La Cruz faced a tough task in the 24th minute when CSE was called for a hand ball in the penalty box and Wells was awarded a penalty kick. De La Cruz made a diving save on the shot by Wells forward Shannon Blanford, but Blanford chased down the rebound and put the ball into the net before De La Cruz could recover to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
With the game tied 1-1 in the second overtime, De La Cruz was caught in no-woman’s land as Wells played a long ball to Blanford in the penalty box. Blanford got to the ball first and went to chip the ball over De La Cruz for the potential game-winner, but Murray quickly stepped in and blocked the shot attempt.
Wells looked to have another sure game-winner but De La Cruz raced off her line and slid in on the streaking Stone and blocked away the shot at 104:39.
CSE took its new-found momentum and earned a corner kick on the other end of the field. Junior midfielder Amy Rowe curled a pass toward the front post of the Wells goal where Crane one-timed home the game-winner at 104:57 for her second goal of the season.
De La Cruz finished with four saves on the afternoon while counterpart Cassie Smythe made 10 stops for Wells (4-8-0, 2-4-0 NEAC).
The Screaming Eagles (3-10-0, 3-5-0 NEAC) travel to Staten Island, N.Y. for their next match on Tuesday, Oct. 4 for a 7:00 p.m. contest with the College of Staten Island. CSE will return home for its final home game on Oct. 22, and will celebrate Patricia Yagecic, the only senior prior to the 1 p.m. game with Wilson College at Soccer Centers.