Women's soccer advances past Messiah in PKs

Delia LoSapio dives to make a save. Graphic on left showing 2-2 final score with team logos.

Newport News, Va. -- She had already saved the match, it seemed, a dozen times.

Now was her chance to put it away.

University of Lynchburg goalkeeper Delia LoSapio (Raleigh, N.C.) stepped to the ball and one-timed it into the back of the net for the Hornets' second penalty kick in Friday night's shootout.

Moments later, Messiah's fifth attempt clanged off the crossbar, and Lynchburg's team streaked onto the field in celebration.

A 2-2 draw through 110 minutes of play, three PKs to the Falcons' two, and the Hornets became one of the last eight NCAA Division III women's soccer teams to be playing in 2018.

"That was truly an epic college soccer game. This is what it's all about," Lynchburg head coach Dr. Todd Olsen said shortly after.

No. 17 Lynchburg will face No. 8 Christopher Newport, which eliminated No. 14 Hope, 2-1 Friday, Saturday at 6 p.m.

"I wasn't even sure that we had won," LoSapio said, explaining a moment of hesitation after the decisive missed kick.

Forgive her that, as it was the only time the senior hesitated all evening. She racked up a career-high 10 saves in the biggest match of her life and converted the penalty kick when the team needed her most.

Of course, LoSapio didn't do it alone.

Senior forward Caitlin Mertens (Succasunna, N.J.) scored both of Lynchburg's goals in the first half. The output nearly doubled the goals-allowed total for second-ranked Messiah, which had allowed just three in 21 matches headed into play Friday.

Mertens' first strike came in the sixth minute, a short cross from graduate student midfielder Rachel Cooke (Charlottesville, Va.) finished into the left corner of the net.

Messiah's Brooke Firestone tied the match 10 minutes later, but Mertens broke through again in the 35th minute, chasing down an errant Falcons pass and beating the Messiah keeper with a left boot.

"I've been telling her for four years she can be the best player we've ever had at Lynchburg," Olsen said of his star forward, "and I think she's finally believing me."

With a 2-1 lead at halftime, Olsen switched his lineup to a four-back set -- the first such look for Lynchburg this season -- thinking to hold onto the lead despite a relentless Messiah attack.

If a goal came on a counterattack, great. If not, his group could hold the line.

It worked for 40 minutes.

Then Messiah's Maddie Kohl beat a Hornet defender, who slipped, and finished off the left post to tie the match, 2-2, with 4:35 remaining in regulation.

"My heart just dropped all the way down to my toes," Olsen admitted.

But he quickly added, "The team didn't, though. They showed resilience."

LoSapio explained the mindset on the pitch.

"You could just sense that it was going to be OK," the senior said. "We were going to get it."

Lynchburg mounted attacks of their own, moving back to the normal, three-back look they were accustomed to in overtime, and LoSapio made four would-be-sudden-death saves to get the match to penalty kicks.

The rest happened like a dream.

Mertens nailed Lynchburg's first kick, responding to a make by Messiah's Lilly Shover.

Then both keepers made saves.

After that, it was all Hornets. LoSapio and sophomore midfielder Sarah Wescott (Midlothian, Va.) calmly converted their kicks, while the Falcons missed high and hit the crossbar on two of their next three, pushing Lynchburg along into the national quarterfinals.

It's the first time the Hornets have made it that far in the tournament since 2014, the year of the program's only national championship.

Lynchburg beat Messiah in penalty kicks that season, too.

--LYN--

 

Women's soccer blanks Emory U.
September 15, 2018 Women's soccer blanks Emory U.
Fri Sep 20
at ITA Southeast Regional Championship, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Va. -- Day 1
Sat Sep 21
at ITA Southeast Regional Championship, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Va. -- Day 2
Sat Sep 21
Fresno State
vs. Lynchburg
CODE RED Match
Sat Sep 21
1:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Catholic
Sat Sep 21
2:00 PM
Mary Washington
vs. Lynchburg
Parents Weekend
Sat Sep 21
2:00 PM
Southern Virginia
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Sep 21
4:00 PM
Mary Baldwin
vs. Lynchburg
Sun Sep 22
at Bridgewater Invitational, Lakeview GC, Harrisonburg, Va. -- Day 1
Sun Sep 22
at ITA Southeast Regional Championship, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Va. -- Day 3
Mon Sep 23
at Bridgewater Invitational, Lakeview GC, Harrisonburg, Va. -- Day 2
View Full Schedule
No events to show.
Fri Nov 08
TBA
Lynchburg
vs. TBA
@ Hood College, Frederick, Md. MMI Tip-Off Tournament
No Event
No Event
No Event
No Event
View Full Schedule
No events to show.
No events to show.
No events to show.
No Event
Fri Aug 30
Final
4 Roanoke
1 vs. No. 22 Lynchburg
Shellenberger Classic -- Non-conference match
Sat Sep 07
Final
0 Maryville (Tenn.)
1 vs. No. 22 Lynchburg
Sun Sep 08
Final
0 Regent
10 vs. No. 22 Lynchburg
Wed Sep 11
Final
2 No. 16 Mary Washington
0 vs. Lynchburg
Fri Sep 13
Final
1 No. 13 Oglethorpe
2 vs. Lynchburg
Wed Sep 18
Final - 2OT
0 Lynchburg
0 at Chris. Newport
Sat Sep 21
1:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Catholic
Wed Sep 25
7:00 PM
Washington and Lee
vs. Lynchburg
Non-conference match
Sat Sep 28
6:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Roanoke
Wed Oct 02
4:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Bridgewater (Va.)
Non-conference match
Wed Oct 09
7:00 PM
Randolph-Macon
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Oct 12
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Hampden-Sydney
Wed Oct 16
3:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Washington and Lee
Sat Oct 19
7:30 PM
East. Mennonite
vs. Lynchburg
Homecoming
Wed Oct 23
7:00 PM
Shenandoah
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Oct 26
6:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Va. Wesleyan
Tue Oct 29
7:00 PM
Guilford
vs. Lynchburg
Senior Night
Fri Nov 01
TBA
TBA
vs. Lynchburg
ODAC Tournament -- First Round
Sun Nov 03
TBA
TBA
vs. Lynchburg
ODAC Tournament -- Quarterfinal
View Full Schedule
No Event
Sat Aug 31
Final
2 No. 10 Johns Hopkins
0 vs. No. 20 Lynchburg
@ Salem, Va. Roanoke Invitational Soccer Showcase
Sun Sep 01
Final
2 Mt. St. Mary (N.Y.)
7 vs. No. 20 Lynchburg
@ Salem, Va. Roanoke Invitational Soccer Showcase
Sat Sep 07
Final
1 Maryville (Tenn.)
2 vs. No. 20 Lynchburg
Shellenberger Classic -- Match 1
Sun Sep 08
Final
0 Kalamazoo
3 vs. No. 20 Lynchburg
Shellenberger Classic -- Match 3
Sat Sep 14
Final - 2OT
2 No. 19 Lynchburg
3 at Emory
Sun Sep 15
Final
1 No. 19 Lynchburg
0 at Piedmont
Wed Sep 25
6:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Chris. Newport
Sat Sep 28
12:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Washington and Lee
Sat Oct 05
1:00 PM
Bridgewater (Va.)
vs. Lynchburg
Wed Oct 09
4:00 PM
Randolph
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Oct 12
4:00 PM
Lynchburg
at East. Mennonite
Tue Oct 15
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Ferrum
Wed Oct 16
4:00 PM
Sweet Briar
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Oct 19
5:00 PM
Roanoke
vs. Lynchburg
Homecoming
Wed Oct 23
4:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph-Macon
Sun Oct 27
1:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Shenandoah
Wed Oct 30
6:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Guilford
Sat Nov 02
1:00 PM
Va. Wesleyan
vs. Lynchburg
Senior Night | CODE RED Match
Wed Nov 06
TBA
TBD
vs. Lynchburg
@ High Seed ODAC Tournament -- Quarterfinal
View Full Schedule