Lynchburg, VA – Sophomore forward Melanie Greco scored 1:58 into overtime, lifting Montclair State to a 3-2 victory against Averett in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament at Lynchburg’s Shellenberger Field on Saturday.
Greco scored twice as the Red Hawks (16-1-3) advanced to the second round where they will face host Lynchburg on Sunday, Nov. 11. Lynchburg (20-0-3) defeated Frostburg State, 1-0 in the other first-round contest. The winner moves on to the Sectional Tournament.
Making its first appearance in the NCAAs since 2006, Montclair found itself down 1-0 quickly as the Cougars (17-3) scored just 4:12 into game. Pernilla Milton made a crossing pass into the box to Mathilda Hansson who ripped a shot inside the left post, giving the USA South champion Cougars the quick one-goal lead.
Montclair State battled back and tied the game 10 minutes later. Freshman Janae Geonnetti found Stephanie Barbulescu at the top of the box. Barbulescu got off a shot that banked in off the left post, tying the game at 1-1 at the 14:12 mark.
From that point, the Red Hawks slowly took control of the game outshooting Averett 9-4 over the next 30 minutes, which produced no scoring. The Cougars got the final two chances of the half as Gina Policastro stopped Milton with 2:51 to go and a shot by Milton at the first half horn went wide.
In the second half, MSU turned up the pressure, keeping the ball in the offensive end and getting several chances. Averett keeper Malin Borjesson made three saves, however the best chance for Montclair State came 10 minutes in as Greco slid a pass across the goalmouth onto the foot of Stefanie Gomes, whose shot went just over the crossbar.
Montclair stayed persistent and finally broke through five minutes later as Gomes fed Greco inside the middle of the box. Greco then back-tapped the ball into the right corner for the goal for a 2-1 Montclair State lead with 28:32 to go.
The lead would be short-lived as Averett answered back 68 seconds later. Suvi Piipponen served a corner kick to the far post where Hansson was standing. Hansson’s initial shot was blocked, but Camilla Sjoren was there to put back the rebound to tie the game at two with 37:23 to play.
From there, the two teams battled back and forth. Montclair State got several chances, however four shots by the Red Hawks went wide. In the closing seconds, Averett got a chance as a cross came out to a wide open Sandra Johansson with 11 seconds left and an open net. But her shot sailed high as the game went into overtime.
In the extra period, Montclair State moved the ball inside the 18 yardline. Greco was able to fight off a defender and flip a right-footed shot inside the right post for the game-winner.
Policastro made two saves for Montclair State with Borjesson getting eight for Averett.
Montclair State outshot the Cougars 19-9.