ASHLAND, Ohio – The Saginaw Valley State University women's soccer team came through with late-game heroics yet again, this time against Drury University in the NCAA DII Regional Semifinal Saturday in Ashland, Ohio.
The Panthers answered two separate one-goal Cardinal leads pushing the contest to overtime. After Stephanie Strong forced a Drury penalty just outside the box, Gabby Green stepped up and drilled home a brilliant goal to send the Cardinals to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time in program history with a 3-2 win.
The victory moves SVSU to 14-5-3 overall, tying the program record for wins in a season (2009).
The Cardinals got the scoring started with a goal in the 29th minute. The Drury goalkeeper attempted to clear the ball, but it deflected off her teammate and to the foot of Sarah Frederick, who put it in the empty net for the 1-0 lead.
The Cardinals held the 1-0 lead into the second half, but a shot from Drury's Tara Simon went off the hands of SVSU goalkeeper Olivia Argeros and into the net to tie the game in the 54th minute.
SVSU leading goal-scorer Stephanie Strong answered as she has all season for the Cardinals. In the 71st minute, Strong broke free and after her first shot was saved, she collected the rebound and put it in the net to put the Cardinals back on top 2-1. The lead did not last long, as the Panthers earned a penalty kick and scored the game-tying goal on a header in the 77th minute, sending the game to overtime.
In the 98th minute, a Drury goal kick was collected by the Cardinals and was played forward to Strong who was fouled just outside of the penalty box, setting up the game-winner for Green.
The Cardinals were outshot 13-11 and Argeros made four saves in net for SVSU.
SVSU will return after the holiday break and will travel to Grand Valley State University for the NCAA DII Regional Final with the top-seeded and defending national champion Lakers. SVSU and GVSU met one time this season, with the Lakers edging the Cardinals with a late goal 3-2 at Braddock Field on Oct. 15.
Postgame and Highlights Below: