SALISBURY, Md. – Last season the Frostburg State University Bobcats ended the season of the Salisbury University women's soccer team in the Capital Athletic Conference championship, with the contest going to penalty kicks. This season, the roles were reversed and the Sea Gulls advance to the CAC semifinals following a 1-1 draw and advance in the CAC playoffs, 4-3, on penalty kicks.
Sophomore Samantha Beck netted the only Sea Gull goal of the contest, allowing the fourth-seeded Sea Gulls to push the game to penalty kicks. And it was two saves of penalty kicks by junior Michelle Conrad that send the Sea Gulls to a rematch with top-seeded Christopher Newport University.
The previous two contests, a game two weeks ago in Frostburg and last year's CAC championship game were played to 0-0 draws. In last year's regular season game then-sophomore Morgan Brasch netted the last goal in this series with 5:57 remaining in that contest, which was the last goal for either team. Since that contest on Oct. 6, 2012, it had been 225:57 since a goal was netted by either squad in the series.
Neither team got on the board in the first half of Saturday's game. Each team fired off eight shots in the first half, with Salisbury (10-5-4) holding a 3-2 edge in corner kicks.
Salisbury nearly got on the board 19:48 into the contest when freshman Jayne Pinsky put a shot on goal from 25 yards out that was pinned up against the crossbar by Frostburg goalie Katie Smith. The Bobcats tried to clear the ball but Pinsky regained possession and sent in another shot that sailed high over the net.
With four minutes remaining in the first half, sophomore Heather Deamond took the ball from 10 yards inside the Sea Gull midfield stripe, crossed midfield and went all the way to the end line down the left side of the field. The West Windsor, N.J., native crossed the ball which was headed near the goal by classmate Victoria Luc which went just right of the net.
Frostburg (8-7-3) had its best chance of the half with just 16 seconds remaining when midfielder Courtney Mack dribbled the ball through the Salisbury defense, moved to her right, just outside the 18-yard box, and fired a shot on goal that was punched away by Conrad. Mack did not play in the first matchup this season and made an impact for the Bobcats in Saturday's contest.
Conrad made four saves in the first half before freshman Alesha Seifert came into the contest to start the second half. Seifert played the entire second half and made one save. Conrad reentered the contest for both overtime periods and the penalty kick rounds, and finished with six saves.
The Bobcats started with the ball in the second half and marched right down the field as Brooke Longo hit the crossbar just 21 seconds into the period. Salisbury took the ball down to the other end of the field but when the possession changed back to the Bobcats, they raced back down for another opportunity.
Erin Worthman nearly took the ball the length of the field for the Bobcats and crossed the ball to Adria Graham. Graham settled the ball, took a few steps and fired a shot that went just high.
Salisbury answered with its own offensive flurry three minutes into the second half. Beck sent in a corner kick which was headed on goal by classmate Tabitha Brown that was turned away by a Bobcat defender. The ball went out of bounds, leading to another corner kick for Beck. Sophomores Casey Arnone and Julie Dannenberg each fired shots towards the net that were blocked and the Bobcats cleared the zone.
It was a few minutes later, at the 52:27 mark, that Beck got the Sea Gulls on the board. The Walkersville, Md., native, much like she did earlier in the week against Wesley College, fired the ball in from the left side of the field outside the 18-yard box that went across the box into the back of the net. Beck's goal snapped a 278:24 scoreless streak between the two teams.
Frostburg knotted the score up six minutes later, netting a goal off a penalty kick. The Bobcats caught a break when Brown was called for a hand ball on a Frostburg cross. Longo lined up for the penalty kick for the Bobcats and sent the ball into the right side of the net, past Seifert.
Sophomore Kandace Racine had three separate chances to push the Sea Gulls ahead down the stretch. With 17:40 remaining in the contest, Racine put a shot on goal that hit the crossbar. Less than three minutes later, freshman Lindsey Andonian sent a cross in that Racine got a header on that went just right. And with 9:32 remaining in regulation, Racine had the final chance for either side, as she took a pass from classmate Logan O'Meara and put a shot on goal that was saved by Katie Smith.
The Sea Gulls outshot Frostburg 16-9 in the second half but each squad was able to push across just the one goal.
Salisbury outshot the Bobcats 4-3 in the first overtime period but neither team came close to a goal for sudden victory and the game moved to the second overtime.
The Bobcats had the prime chance of the second overtime, when Stephanie Fazenbaker sent a pass to Adria Graham, who put a low shot on goal that required Conrad to make a diving stop to her left. With no team able to put home a goal in the overtime periods, who would advance in the playoff matchup for the second-straight year would be decided by penalty kicks.
Both teams made the first two penalty kicks, before matching misses that went wide of the net. Each team followed with a make before heading to the fifth round. Freshman Marissa Walker missed her kick, setting up a kick for the Bobcats to advance. Conrad turned away a shot by Fazenbaker, Frostburg's leading goal scorer, sending the penalty kicks to the sixth round.
Sophomore Christine Clark made her attempt, putting Frostburg's Nicole Gernert in the position where she needed to make her kick. Gernert sent in a low liner towards the left side of the net and Conrad dove to her right to punch the ball away and advance the Sea Gulls to the semifinal round.
The Sea Gulls will travel to Newport News, Va., this Wednesday, Nov. 6 to take on Christopher Newport. That game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.