ASHLAND, Ohio – The Saginaw Valley State University women's soccer team traveled to Ashland University for the opening round of the 2021 NCAA DII Women's Soccer Championship Tournament on Thursday in Ashland, Ohio.
The No. 6 seed Cardinals were paired up with a familiar foe in No. 3 seed Ferris State University, which topped the Cardinals in the GLIAC Semifinals less than one week ago. In two previous games this season, SVSU had failed to find the back of the net against the Bulldogs, and the Cardinals once again were stifled through 110 minutes of action against Ferris State on Thursday.
The SVSU defense was up to the challenge and held Ferris State scoreless through the second overtime setting up a penalty kick shootout to decide which team moved on. The 2021 GLIAC Goalkeeper of the Year, Olivia Argeros was a wall for the Cardinals in the shootout, and SVSU netted three goals, winning the penalties 3-0 to advance to the second round of the tournament on Saturday.
"We have been right there with Ferris State in all three games this year," SVSU Head Coach Michael O'Neill said. "We knew it was going to be a 1-0 or go to penalties and if we went to the shootout, we have the best goalkeeper in the nation. That's what it came down to."
The win moves SVSU to 13-5-3 overall this season.
Through regulation and the two overtime periods, the Cardinals were outshot 16-8 on a windy day in Ashland. Both teams managed to find chances, including two shots on goal for SVSU from Lea Grunnagel. The two goalkeepers matched each other, making four saves each.
The Cardinals opened the shootout with Dori Payne's shot saved by Ferris State's Darya Mosallaei. Argeros answered on the first Bulldog attempt with a save of her own.
SVSU went in front on a goal in the shootout's second round from Michelle Missler. After a second stop from Argeros, Amy Babon gave the Cardinals a commanding lead in the third round, putting away her penalty attempt. Ferris State hit the crossbar in the third round, setting up Ashley Myall with a chance to win it for the Cardinals. Myall came through as the team rushed the field in celebration.
"When that last goal in the shootout was scored, it was euphoria," O'Neill said. "The team thought the season was over last Friday, and here we are."
SVSU will take on No. 7 seed Drury University at 12 pm on Saturday in Ashland, Ohio. Drury upset No. 2 seed and host Ashland in double-overtime 1-0 on Thursday.