Senior Abbe McCarter scored just 2:07 into the first overtime period to give the Emory University Women's Soccer team a 1-0 victory over Penn State-Berks in a thrilling, back-and-forth first round affair of the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer tournament Saturday afternoon on the campus of University of Lynchburg.
The Eagles, who extended their unbeaten streak to eight games and upped their season record to 14-4-1, advance to the Round of 32 for the first time since 2013 to face Lynchburg on Sunday at 3:00 PM. The Hornets defeated Piedmont College, 2-1, in their opening round match earlier on Saturday.
McCarter got off a shot from the right side of the 18 and buried it to the left corner of the net, just outside the diving reach of the Nittany Lions' Bristol Pizzuto, to send the Eagles onto the next stage of the tournament. The goal was McCarter's fifth of the year and team-leading fourth game-winner.
The teams played an evenly contested match with Emory leading in the shots department 24-21 but PSU-Berks had two more chances on target, finishing with an 11-9 edge. Senior Dani Staffin was tremendous between the pipes for the Eagles, closing out the game with 11 saves, her second highest total of her career, to record her fourth clean sheet of the campaign.
In addition to Staffin, senior Danielle Darius, sophomore Lily Dresner and the other member of the Eagles backline did a great job containing Caitlin Golden, the nation's leading goal scorer, and the high-scoring Nittany Lions offensive attack, which entered the match with a Division III-best 5.55 goals per game average.
In a matter of seconds during the 77th minute, the Eagles threatened with three successive chances but could not put one home. Sophomore Samantha Hilsee's first chance was stopped on a kick save by Pizzuto before senior Sophia Dillon's rebound went off the crossbar. Sophomore Caroline Moore rounded out the Emory opportunities with a header attempt turned away.
Staffin made four clutch saves over the final five minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime including a huge stop on Emily Clapper's shot that seemed destined for the right corner, punching the shot away.