The Keuka College women's soccer team showed tremendous resolve and determination during Thursday night's North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) home game against Wells College.
The Storm fell behind 3-0 after surrendering three goals over a span of 38 minutes, fought back and responded with two goals during a span of just 80 seconds to make it a one-goal game, but Keuka once again found itself trailing by two goal after Wells scored in the 62nd minute.
With its postseason hopes potentially on the line, the Storm responded by dominating the Express over the final 30 minutes of regulation. Junior Nicole Sharick (Corfu, NY/Pembroke) pulled the Storm within 4-3 when she scored on a corner kick in the 79th minute, then senior Elly Disbrow (Penn Yan, NY/Penn Yan) knotted the score at 4-all with her blast from the top of the 18-yard line that found a home in the back of the net.
Heading into the overtime period, Keuka head coach Jamie Burke stressed to her squad the importance of completing the comeback, stating that, in order to have any chance of competing in the annual NEAC postseason tournament, Keuka needed to knock off Wells, and her players listened.
Junior Terin Brown (Wayland, NY/Wayland-Cohocton) scored her second goal of the game on a breakaway off a well-played feed from junior Sarah Capek (Elmira, NY/Horseheads). After Capek played her through ball, Brown pushed her right-footed shot into a wide-open net just three minutes and 40 seconds into overtime, then was mobbed by her teammates.
The Storm (5-5-1, 5-2-1 NEAC) completed the stunning comeback, knocking off Wells 5-4 in overtime Thursday night on a rain-soaked Jephson Community Athletic Complex.
"I just knew I needed to get a soft touch (on the ball) in situations like that. The soft touch really helped me instead of blasting the ball over the goal," Brown said after her game-winning goal, her first career collegiate game-winner.
"Sarah (Capek) played a perfect ball into me. The placement of her pass really helped and it was a perfect ball at the right time that allowed me to score. This was a huge win and like coach told us, losing tonight could have kept us out of the (NEAC) tournament."
Following a scoreless first 14 minutes, Wells (5-9, 3-5 NEAC) struck quickly, getting two Paige Stone goals during a stretch of 12 minutes to take a 2-0 lead into halftime. The deficit remained two goals for the Storm until Wells pushed across its third goal in the 53rd minute. That's when Keuka's offense sprung to life.
Off a feed from sophomore Stephanie Havens (Unadilla, NY/Unatego), Brown got the Storm on the board in the 56th minute. Brown received the pass, shielded the defender from getting the ball and scored.
"The momentum completely changed after our first goal," Brown said. "That gave us the momentum and the confidence to know we could go out and score more. … We were more aggressive in the second half and were just in the right place at the right time."
Just eighty seconds later, the Wells lead had shrunk to 4-2 after sophomore Britni Burch (Almond, NY/Arkport) collected a loose ball following a corner kick from Sharick and Burch buried her second goal of the year.
Wells answered back with a goal in the 62nd minute for a 4-2 lead, but the Storm never stopped attacking, and its patience paid off. Sharick sliced the deficit to one goal when she booted her corner kick in the 79th minute into the far side of the goal, and then Disbrow connected on the tying goal just 80 seconds later.
The teams played the remaining 10:13 of regulation scoreless, but in the first overtime period, Wells had a golden chance to net the golden goal, but the Express couldn't score off of a corner kick, and the game remained tied.
Until Brown's game-winner. On the play, Capek delivered a perfect pass that allowed Brown to keep running at full speed towards the goal. Brown didn't hesitate once she received the pass, quickly scoring into the near corner of the goal to spark the postgame celebrations.
Senior Morgan Engelbert (Elmira, NY/Thomas Edison) made 11 saves to pick up the win.
With four NEAC games remaining, Keuka has moved into sole possession of fourth place in the conference, and sits just 1/2 a game back of third-place Penn State-Berks, which has already played one more NEAC contest than the Storm. The top six schools qualify for the NEAC tournament, which runs Nov. 1-6.
"It was more intensity and confidence than anything," said Burke, pointing to the main difference between Keuka's first- and second-half efforts Thursday night.
"We had the opportunities in the first half, but we weren't focusing on finishing them, and then in the second half, it seemed we were determined to try and get the ball in the back of the net. This was a season-saving win."