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Team to Repeat: Lady Cavs win CSAC title in sudden-death thriller

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The Cabrini women’s soccer team outlasted the Gwynedd-Mercy Griffins in penalty kicks in the CSAC Final. The Lady Cavs won the sudden-death shootout, 5-4, to claim back-to-back conference titles. (Submitted Photo / Cabrini Athletics)

The CSAC women’s soccer final was full of surprises and suspense. The score remained 0-0 heading into overtime on Sunday, Nov. 4. On this cold November afternoon, the Lady Cavs hosted the Lady Griffins of Gwynedd-Mercy College in this instant classic.

After 110 minutes of scoreless play, the game went to sudden-death penalty kicks. Cabrini would rally to win the shootout, winning back-to-back CSAC titles with a 5-4 shootout score and a 1-0 win.

“There has been nothing but soccer, soccer, soccer running through my head the past few days,” senior Dana Drake said.

It was obvious that all the players for the Lady Cavs had the same mindset going into today’s game. It was a game of defense and hustle. Both teams were relentless in running to every open ball and, offensively, took any opportunity to take a shot at the net.

At the half, it was a deadlock as each team tried to decide what they needed to do to win this game.

“I felt confident in our team,” junior Bethany Feinberg said. “It was an honor to be a part of a team that works so hard every game and I knew today wouldn’t be any different.”

The confidence was matched by the Lady Griffins in the second half and when the final buzzer sounded, the game remained scoreless. Heading into overtime, the Lady Cavs knew they were so close to winning that coveted CSAC trophy. It was just a matter of who scored first.

“We made it this far,” Drake said. “It was now or never and we all agreed to push to every ball because it was the golden goal.”

They kept the fans on the edge of their seats as overtime wasn’t enough to determine a champion. With 110 minutes complete, the game went to sudden-death penalty kicks.

Players from each team would get the opportunity to shoot in a one-on-one format in a best-of-five. Little did these teams know that the ones who were trying to stop these goals, the goalies, would be the one’s deciding the game with scoring.

Drake scored the first goal of the shootout but it was quickly answered by Maura Gifford. Goals by Chloe Collipp and Casey Gaughan helped extend the Griffins lead to 3-2.

Melissa Scanzano scored to keep the game within one. But Alex Tralie missed a shot wide, allowing the Griffins to shoot for the win.

Megan Bojanowski missed a shot wide in the fourth round as well, putting the game on the line for Cabrini’s fifth-round shooter Bree Thompson. Thompson converted on her attempt and goalkeeper Maddy Edwards stopped Kerri Petroski’s shot to force a sixth round.

After trading goals in the sixth round by Lauren Pallister and Collipp, the seventh round of shooters would feature the goalies.

Edwards would shoot first and fire a high shot just over the outstretch arms of Griffins’ keeper Jessica Tadley. With the game coming down to Tadley, her shot rocketed off the goalpost, sealing the win and title for the Lady Cavs.

Very rarely do we hear that a goalie won a game by scoring a goal. But this championship game was different.

“In overtime I felt we had momentum going into it and we kept constant pressure on their team,” Edwards said. “I knew we had it in us today and coming out and finishing with a win was amazing and I am so proud of our team.”

“I am at a loss for words,” Drake said. “Nothing can describe the feelings we had as a team.”

The Lady Cavs await their first-round opponent of the NCAA Tournament after locking up an automatic bid. They will learn the opponent on Monday, Nov. 5, at 1:30 p.m.

But for now, the Lady Cavs are enjoying the victory and championship run, especially the seniors who had so much to do with Sunday’s win.

“It’s incredible to win another championship, especially my senior year,” Drake said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my college career at Cabrini.”

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