Special to the OBSERVER
The Fredonia State women's soccer team advanced to the semifianl round of SUNYAC playoffs after winning in a shootout, following a double-overtime, 2-2 tie against New Paltz. They tied the game with just 30 seconds left to play.
"We knew New Paltz was a good team," Fredonia State head coach Chris Case said. "That, mixed with the weather, made for a crazy game."
Following the hard-fought game, it took seven rounds of the shootout to determine who would advance. Fredonia State goalkeeper Meaghan Meszaros stepped up in a big way, saving five out of the seven shots.
"She went seven rounds," Case said. "Only two girls scored and Meaghan had four saves. She saved (shots) in the sixth and seventh rounds to give us a chance to win and for us to advance. I thought Meaghan was fantastic."
Shannon Letina had the game-deciding kick. She fired her shot past New Paltz goalie Stephanie Vega's outstretched hands and sent the rest of the Blue Devil roster storming onto the field.
The Blue Devils (12-3-3) will move on to play Oneonta Wednesday in the second round of SUNYAC play.
Kristi Putzig put the Devils up early with her seventh goal of the season just over seven minutes into the contest. Putzig took a pass from the left wing from Mary Bruton and connected from about twenty yards out.
"This is the second year in a row we've been able to host a first-round game," Case said. "I think our girls feel comfortable at home. It never is easy to travel across the state seven hours and play a game. We went to New Paltz last year and felt it was a good situation to be at home today. We just typically play well. We played well enough to squeek by."
New Paltz (12-5-2) answered at the 63:46 mark on a goal by Chelsea Weir, her seventh of the season. After a corner kick and a scramble in front of net Weir slipped it past Meszaros for the score.
The Hawks did not take long to score again to take the lead. Samantha Abravanel scored her tenth goal of the season after consecutive blocked shots.
The Blue Devils tied it up in dramatic fashion late in regulation. A New Paltz foul set up Fredonia State with a set piece from thirty yards out. Reilly Condidorio took the set piece and found Katie Kleine for Kleine's tenth goal of the year.
"We were trying to get people forward, but Reilly decided to play a free kick early and found Kleine with only one defender around her," Case said. "Katie was able to score and the place went nuts. For us to fight to the final seconds shows you how bad our team wanted it.
"For those two to link up and somehow find a way to get it done, it doesn't shock me anymore," Case continued. "Those two always find a way to get it done. Watching the seniors' expressions when that went in ... They had 40 seconds left in their careers if we don't score. To see their reactions was something special."
The Devils outshot New Paltz, 18-14, and held a 7-5 advantage in shots on goal. Meszaros was credited with three saves for the Devils and Vega had five saves for the Hawks.