Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of Lebanon Valley Athletics

GRANTHAM, Pa. - Jocelyn Novak scored an equalizer with 5:05 left in regulation, but #1 Messiah's Julie Barton ended the game 5:31 into overtime as the Falcons defeated #7 LVC, 3-2 (OT), to move onto the NCAA Final Four.

The Dutchmen (19-4) were taking on the undefeated Falcons (21-0) for the third time this year, and once again could not solve them as they played in the NCAA Third Round. Messiah will move on to face #3 Ursinus in the national semifinals at Mt. Holyoke College. LVC was bidding for its fifth final four appearance and third in four years.

Caitlin Vasey put LVC on top 7:41 into the game, and the Dutchmen held that lead until two Messiah goals midway through the second half swung the game in their favor.

Senior goalkeeper Caitlin Baro turned in a career-high 16 saves, including six in overtime, as Messiah ripped 28 shots; LVC was outshot 28-15, including 8-1 in overtime, and Messiah led 19-7 on corners. Rachel Pantalone and Bridget Monighan each had defensive saves.

LVC scored on its first chance of the game after Ashley Mowery stopped Jenni Walker's shot, and Vasey finished on Allison Bicher's scoop-up. The LVC defense then repelled nine Falcon first-half shots to hang on to the 1-0 lead.

But the nation's #1 team showed why it deserved the ranking, striking quickly with goals by Kourtney Ehly and Katie Love in a nine-minute span midway through the second half to swing the game around.

Seeking an equalizer, LVC had a chance when Novak shot wide with 6:18 left, but the leveler came a moment later when Novak connected on Nikki Bomberger's assist with 5:05 remaining.

Both teams had chances in a heart-stopping final five minutes, including Novak's shot with 1:57 left that had to be cleared off the line by Brittany Godshall.

In overtime, Shelly Lobach shot wide to start before Messiah ripped seven straight saved shots before Barton punched through with 4:29 left.