#13 Women's Soccer Advances on Thrilling Overtime Goal
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The No. 13 Northwood University (Fla.) women's soccer team scored in the opening two minutes of the first overtime to defeat visiting No. 15 Westmont College (Calif.), 1-0, in the opening round of the NAIA Women's Soccer National Championships.
The contest featured two evenly matched opponents who battled for over ninety minutes of play. In the first half, the Warriors had an opportunity to take an early lead by the attempt from sophomore forward Mallory Mitchell (Coronado, Calif.) deflected off the crossbar and over the net. The squads went into halftime with a scoreless tie.
In the 56th minute of play, Northwood junior forward Helen Lynskey (Rotherham, England) drew a foul and was awarded a free kick just outside the Warriors box. On the ensuing attempt, Lynskey fired a shot low to the corner, but Warrior junior goalie Lindsey Smith (Pleasanton, Calif.) stretched out and made the save. With just over 26 minutes left in the half, Westmont junior midfielder Jenny Martinez chipped a shot towards the Northwood goal, but Seahawk junior goalkeeper Matilda Ojaniemi (Kalmar, Sweden) jumped and stopped the shot, preserving the 0-0 tie. The teams would take the scoreless tie into overtime.
Just 1:33 into the first overtime period, sophomore midfielder Matilda Hjalte (Falkenberg, Sweden) delivered a cross into the Warriors box, where Lynskey elevated and headed home the game-winning goal, giving the Lady Seahawks the 1-0 victory over Westmont.
The Lady Seahawks outshot the Warriors, 15-9, during the contest. Ojaniemi made three saves, while Smith stopped eight shots for Westmont.
"It was a great performance today," said Northwood Head Coach Mat Dunn. "Either team could have won this game. Westmont was powerful in the first half and had a lot of possession. In the second half, we locked them into their half and were the better team, but we couldn't capitalize. We showed good character to remain focused and deliver the game-winner. Now, we head to Orange Beach and play the winner of Lee and Montreat. We have the benefit of playing both teams during the regular season, so we know what they both have and can prepare well."
The Lady Seahawks improved to 15-4-1 on the season, and now await the winner of the match between #1 Lee University and Montreat College in their next match. Westmont finished their season with a 12-6-1 record.