Scranton Rallies Late (Again) For 11th Straight Victory
COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Just call them the "Cardiac Kids." The University of Scranton women's soccer team scored twice in the final 13 minutes, including the game-winner by senior forward Samantha Russo (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) with 4:42 to play as the Royals rallied for their 11th straight victory, 3-2, over Ursinus on Saturday afternoon.
Russo's goal was her eighth of the season, including her fifth game-winner. She now has 30 career goals, including 15 game-winners. Freshman forward Kelsey Bacon (Macungie, Pa./Emmaus) scored twice for the Royals, including the match-tying goal in the 78th minute.
The late rally was the second this week and marked the fourth time the Royals (11-2) scored late in regulation or in overtime to win a match. Here's how they won all four:
- Bacon scored in the 83rd minute and Russo won it just less than nine minutes into overtime in a 3-2 victory at Farmingdale State on Sept. 21.
- Bacon did it again three days later, scoring with 1:24 remaining in regulation to force overtime, then winning it on a penalty shot at 97:07 for a 2-1 win over Muhlenberg on Sept. 24 at Fitzpatrick Field.
- Junior midfielder Ellen Walker (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) scored in the 86th minute to tie the match and freshman forward Christina Akalski (Long Beach, N.Y./Kellenberg Memorial) scored the match winner with 1:47 to play in a 2-1 win over Western Connecticut State on Wednesday, Oct. 9.
- And Bacon and Russo teamed for Saturday's heroics that extended Scranton's winning streak to 11, its longest since the Royals won 17 straight in 2003.
Ursinus (5-6-1) struck first with a goal in the sixth minute. The Royals answered back when Bacon scored in the 22nd minute when she took a pass from sophomore forward Gianna Vitolo (Denville, N.J./Morris Knolls) and drilled a shot into the upper left corner.
Just over nine minutes into the second half, Ursinus struck again for a 2-1 lead, which lasted a little less than 23 minutes. Bacon's eighth goal of the season, tied with Russo for the team lead, snuck over the Bears' goalkeeper to tie the match at 2 with 12:57 to play.
The Royals kept the pressure on and drew a corner kick in the 86th minute. Freshman midfielder Kelly Egan (Essex Falls, N.J./West Essex Senior) deftly sent the free kick into the box, where Russo headed it home for another comeback victory.
Egan now has a team-high eight assists while Vitolo picked up her second. Russo continues to climb the Scranton all-time leaders list – she is now tied for 10th in both career goals with 29 and is also 12th in career points with 81.
The back-and-forth action saw 36 total shots, 23 for Scranton and 13 for Ursinus. The Royals held a 6-4 edge in corner kicks. Scranton may have won the match in easier fashion if not for Bears' senior goalkeeper Kara DiJoseph (Turnersville, N.J./Washington Township), who made 11 saves, the second most against the Royals this season.
Scranton will return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 16, when it goes on the road to face Penn State-Berks at 3:30 p.m. in Reading, Pa.