There was no doubt that this was a game that both teams needed, and it had all the drama and excitement of a Lafayette/Lehigh encounter. Forget the records, this was a game played at a high level, with many individual stars. The overall stats reflected a Lafayette domination of the field. The Leopards had a 19-6 shot advantage, which was compensated by Lehigh’s excellent goal keeper, who made 8 crucial saves. Lafayette led in penalty corners 12-2, but Lehigh was to take advantage of every opportunity as their defense stood strong under a Lafayette onslaught of shots and circle penetrations.
Scoring started with less than a minute to play in the first period, as the tandem of Kristen Taylor who delivered the cross, and Grace Angelella who settled the ball, delivered, to give Lafayette the half-time lead. With about 11 minutes having run off the second half clock, Lenke Havas from Lehigh made a shot that sailed over Sara Park, the Lafayette goalkeeper knotting the game a 1-1.
The crowd of 512 urged their teams on and Lehigh was to strike 3 minutes later giving Lehigh the lead. The Leopards redoubled their efforts and less than 1 1/2 minutes later Lafayette was to come back to tie it with a Van der Geest strike from a penalty corner assisted by Theresa Delahanty and Cameron Costello. Through the end of the period Lafayette was to earn several penalty corners, but couldn’t quite find the formula to crack the Lehigh goalie’s stops. With the crowd roaring during the period, it ended in a tie and it was on to overtime.
Memories of last year’s overtime loss must have flashed through many on the teams’s minds as they lined up for the start of the first overtime. I must say this fan was no stranger to anxiety at the moment, but it was freshman Molly McAndrews who delivered the winning goal through the legs of the Mountain Hawk goalie ending the game after only 20 seconds into the period.
The night was enhanced with spirited cheering from the sidelines and had all the interest of any Lafayette/Lehigh contest. It was a well earned win, and appreciated by all. The stands were decorated with sign’s and balloons and the team was greeted with words of appreciation for the outstanding effort.
It is hard to single out difference makers because this was truly a team effort, but clearly the team captains deserve the credit for keeping this team centered on what needed to be done. Theresa Delahanty returned to the turf from her hand injury and was a contributor all game, including providing an assist to Co-captain Lisa van der Geest for the goal that tied the game. Rachel Bird was to propel the ball downfield numerous times to set up the play. Kristen Taylor was to impress with her athleticism on numerous occasions. I had to marvel at the skill of our players who were able to turn the play around time after time. Freshman McAndrew’s move to get the goalie to commit and the shot that ended the contest will certainly end up on someone’s highlight reel.
It was the TEAM that made it happen. They obviously had a mission this week, and they performed. Well done ladies.