Edinboro shocks Gannon in overtime

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A dream season became a nightmare for the Gannon University women’s soccer team in Sunday afternoon’s NCAA Division II Atlantic subregional.

Edinboro’s Halle Hammer slipped a shot passed a diving Shannon Differ just 1 minute, 49 seconds into overtime to shock the seventh-ranked Knights, again, with a 2-1 overtime win in front of split crowd of 745 fans at McConnell Family Stadium.

“Soccer is a cruel game,” Gannon coach Colin Petersen said. “I thought we had everything right. In the first half we were solid and the second half we wanted to come out and attack because of the wind. I thought we had some good opportunities we didn’t take care off.”

It was the second time in just nine days that Gannon fell to Edinboro.

“All it takes is five seconds,” an emotional Mani Brueckner said about the game-winning goal. “Unfortunately it was five seconds for them and not for us.

“It was a fortunate bounce for them and if it would have gone our way we would have been feeling great right now.”

The fourth-seeded Fighting Scots advance to face No. 6 East Stroudsburg (13-6-2) in the Atlantic Regional final Friday.

“I’m not even sure what to think,” Edinboro coach Gary Kagiavas said. “I’m not sure how to celebrate this thing — it’s almost bittersweet. Gannon’s program is unbelievable – they have a class act – and Colin is a personal good friend.

“I’m happy we won, but I’m really sorry for a program that was No. 1 in the country for the longest time.”

Gannon (18-3-0) ends the season with the most wins in school history, but lost three of its last four after winning its first 17 in a row.

The Knights also held the nation’s No. 1 ranking in four consecutive polls midway through the season.

After a scoreless first half, Edinboro’s Ashley Mutkus scored the game’s first goal in the 63rd minute to give Edinboro a 1-0 lead.

But before the red and maroon dotted crowd had time to settle back into its seats, Brueckner scored the equalizer just 24 seconds later.

“It was a great response,” Brueckner said about the game-tying goal. “I’m so proud of my teammates for how we responded. We came right back, less than 30 seconds later – you can’t ask for a better response from everybody.”

Senior Sammy Valloud found Brueckner in front of the net for the header for her 18th goal of the season.

The goal gave Brueckner the single-season record.

Gannon had momentum for the rest of regulation and appeared to have control until the opening minutes of overtime.

The game marked the first time in program history that Gannon hosted an NCAA Tournament match.

“We had a lot of ups and a couple downs,” Brueckner said. “Unfortunately we are ending on a down, but you have to look at the 18 games we won. Best finish in school history, No. 1 in the country for a month.

“You have to look at the program we’re building. It’s an unfortunate ending, but you have to look at the success we had.”

 

DOMINIC SANSONE

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