GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- Senior tri-captain attacker Shea Kusiak had two goals and one assist, and the Bantam defense held the nation's No. 11-ranked offense to two goals in the second half, as Trinity (Conn.) rallied to defeat Cortland State 8-7 in the NCAA Division III semifinals.
Trinity, which recorded its third consecutive win against Cortland State in the NCAA semifinals, advances to the NCAA shampionship game.Trinity fought back from a 4-2 hole 16:30 into the game, scoring six of seven goals in a 27-minute span, before holding off the Red Dragons late. Rookie midfielder Clare Lyne started the rally with a man-up tally from fellow rookie Karly Simpson with 6:06 left in the first half, but Red Dragon freshman Kristen Ohberg answered from sophomore attackman Erica Geremia at the 4:48 mark. Trinity junior midfielder Caroline Hayes took a pass from behind the net by sophomore middie Martha Griffin and converted the last goal before the break to make the score 5-4 in Cortland State's favor.
Trinity rattled off the first five goals after halftime, beginning with a game-tying score by junior attacker Renee Olsen 2:09 into the second stanza. After a 12:45 scoring drought for both sides, Kusiak buried a free-position shot for what proved to be the game-winner followed by a second connection from Simpson to Lyne at the 10:53 mark and a final Trinity goal from Kusiak to sophomore Abby McQuillan with 9:07 on the clock.
The Red Dragons came roaring back, as Ohberg returned the earlier favor by Geremia with an assist to her on the first Cortland State goal in almost 30 minutes of play just inside the five-minute mark. Geremia assisted junior attacker Marilyn Farrell with 1:21 remaining to cut the Trinity lead to 8-7, and Cortland State won the ensuing draw. The Trinity defense kept the Red Dragons from getting a shot off for more than 40 seconds, but Geremia drew a free-position opportunity with 36 seconds on the clock to give Cortland State a solid chance to tie. Trinity sophomore goalkeeper Emily Mooney made the last of eight saves the biggest, however, stopping the hard and low shot with her stick, and Trinity held the ball the rest of the way.
Cortland had scored first on a free-position shot by sophomore Ashley Gentile, just 1:13 into the contest, but Bantam senior tri-captain Kathleen Timmons answered with a wraparound at the 24:24 mark. Trinity took a 2-1 lead when Kusiak's free-position attempt caromed off a stick past Red Dragon sophomore backstop Liz Ingalls with 23:03 on the clock. Ingalls was impressive early with four saves in the opening 20 minutes, and her stop on Trinity junior attacker Molly Cox on a free position led to the goal in transition by Ohberg that capped off a 3-0 Cortland State run and left Trinity down by a score of 4-2 midway through the first half. Mooney kept the deficit at a pair with a save against Ohberg moments later, and Ingalls stopped Griffin on a free position with 10:24 left in the first half, before Lyne's first goal out of a Bantam time out shifted the momentum back to Trinity.