The Gannon University women’s soccer team played two contests this past week, earning a 4-4 tie Thursday when it traveled to Canton, Ohio, to take on Walsh University and then edging Seton Hill Friday, 3-2, in the Knights’ home opener at McConnell Family Stadium.
The win and tie left Gannon ranked seventh in the initial National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Atlantic regional rankings released Tuesday afternoon.
In Friday’s game, the Griffins found the back of the net first on an unassisted goal from Emily LoPresti in the 18th minute of play. Despite outshooting Seton Hill 10-6 during the first half, the Knights trailed the Griffins going into halftime, 1-0.
In the second half, Gannon senior Courtney Edwards netted the tying goal in the 64th minute off an assist from freshman Brigid Casey, making the score 1-1.
But a little over eight minutes later, freshman Taylor Lewis snuck one past the Griffins’ goalie unassisted to put Gannon ahead, 2-1.
Seton Hill came back in the 81st minute when the Griffins’ Bri Kostan scooted a pass over to Emma Bearinger, who snuck it past Gannon’s goalkeeper, tying the game 2-2.
The Knights and Griffins could feel overtime breathing down their necks. Gannon junior Hannah Manczka received the ball down the left side after a Gannon breakaway.
Manczka blasted a 20-yard boot into the upper right corner of the net past Seton Hill’s goalie, giving Gannon a 3-2 lead and ultimately the win with 58 seconds left to play.
The Griffins had one last chance to tie it up with a corner kick received late in regulation play, but were unable to find the net and fell to the Knights.
In the Knights’ season opener, it was Walsh that found pay dirt first as the Cavaliers netted a goal 7:17 into the game by Corynne Swift.
Twenty minutes later, the Knights tied it up at 1-1 with an unassisted goal from sophomore Nicole Felice. It was her first career goal, but it would only be a sign of things to come.
Walsh responded four minutes later to go ahead 2-1, and the score remained that way for the rest of the half.
Felice was the first to strike after the break, tying the game 2-2 after 14:22. But just 68 seconds later, the Cavaliers scored again, giving them a 3-2 lead.
The Knights forged ahead as Felice had her third goal of the night, giving her the first hat trick of her career, off an assist from Manczka.
The two teams continued to fight back and forth as Walsh scored another goal to move in front, 4-3, in the 78th minute.
With 5:45 left in regulation the Knights were able to put another one away as sophomore Kelsey O’Connor scored her first career goal as a Knight.
In the final minutes the Knights had two more shots on goal that were denied by the Cavaliers’ goalkeeper.
After 20 extra minutes of play in two overtimes neither team was able to find the back of the net as junior Danitza Indacochea, who relieved senior Shannon Differ in goal, stayed strong and the game ended with a score of 4-4.
Manczka said she is happy with the team’s chemistry and thinks they are headed in the right direction.
“Our team has energy on and off the field,” Manczka said. “We are only going to progress and get better from here so I’m really excited to see how the season plays out.”
Up next, the women will head to Bloomsburg as the nightcap to a men’s and women’s doubleheader. The game will start at 3:30 p.m. Friday.