Hesler converts sudden-death PK to give Misericordia the edge
ITHACA, N.Y. -- Misericordia (19-2-2) tied host No. 6 Ithaca (19-1-3) 0-0 on Saturday in the NCAA Round of 16 at Carp Wood Field. The Cougars advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history after posting a 6-5 edge in penalty kicks to end the Bombers’ record-setting season.
Following 110 minutes of action, with a 0-0 double overtime tie, Ithaca took a 3-2 lead in penalty kicks. The Bombers converted their fourth-consecutive attempt, while the Cougars found the back of the net on their fourth to pull within 4-3. Ithaca had a chance to advance to the quarterfinal, but freshman goalkeeper Maureen Ciccosant dove left to make a save and allow Misericordia the equalizer. The Cougars netted their fifth to force extra kicks. Both teams made good on their sixth. The Bombers shot wide left on their seventh attempt. Misericordia’s Danielle Hesler laced a shot into the lower right corner of goal to punch the Cougars’ ticket to the quarterfinals.
Misericordia, who was competing in the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in school history and in the Round of 16 for the first time, ousted Ithaca from its NCAA-leading 23rd trip to the postseason. It was Ithaca's fifth trip to the Round of 16 in the last six years.
Ithaca had back-to-back chances in the first five minutes of play. Grant-Keane fed Palladino who laced a shot high of the crossbar from the 18-yard line at 3:50. At the five-minute mark, Grant-Keane forced Ciccosanti to bat her shot high of the crossbar to maintain the 0-0 deadlock.
Misericordia’s Sam Helmstetter found Laura Roney camped out on the left post at 6:21. She placed a shot on goal as Ithaca keeper, Becca Salant, made a diving save.
At the 10-minute mark, Helmstetter forced Salant to make another athletic stop. Erin McGreal collected the rebound but could not convert.
There was a lull in offense as neither team took a shot for almost 10 minutes midway through the first frame.
Ithaca, who held an 8-7 edge in shots during the opening 45, put a pair of shots on goal in the final six minutes of the half. With 38 ticks on the clock, Grant-Keane fired a shot high left as the 0-0 stalemate stood at half.
To open offensive efforts in the second half, Bomber junior Amanda Callanan served a charging Kelsey King the ball in the 48th minute, but King’s shot flew high.
Misericordia posted back-to-back shots in the 68th minute. A Helmstetter header was blocked at 67:10 and Salant made a stop on Alyssa Mocion’s shot at 67:18.
Ithaca earned a PK at 74:29 following a Cougar foul in the box. Midfielder Julie Winn sent the shot just left of the left post as play remained knotted, 0-0.
The Cougars owned a 6-4 edge in shots over the overtime periods, though neither squad could convert. Misericordia entered PKs for the first time this season, while it was Ithaca’s second round of penalty kicks.
Ciccosanti made nine saves during the contest and Salant posted a season-high 12.
Both teams have tied their respective school records for single-season wins with 19.