Lynchburg, Va. -- University of Lynchburg's women's soccer team needed some late heroics to slide past visiting Gettysburg in Friday afternoon's Shellenberger Classic opener, and the Hornets looked to senior leadership to get it done.
After a scoreless 90 minutes, senior forward Caitlin Mertens (Succasunna, N.J.) took a header from senior forward Hannah Olds (Wilmington, N.C.) in the 97th minute, and Mertens scooted the ball past the sliding Bullets keeper and into the net for the golden goal.
Lynchburg got a stalwart defensive effort from senior goalkeeper Delia LoSapio (Raleigh, N.C.), who started the 2018 season off with eight saves and a shutout.
Final: No. 16 Lynchburg 1, Gettysburg 0 (OT)
Records: No. 16 Lynchburg 1-0, Gettysburg 0-1
Venue: Shellenberger Field, University of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, Va.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Neither team was able to capitalize on first-half scoring opportunities as LoSapio corralled four saves in the early 45 minutes and Gettysburg keeper Kerry Sammon made a pair. The Hornets' three first-half corner kicks were fruitless.
The Bullets controlled the momentum much of the second half, but behind solid play from the Lynchburg defense were unable to put the ball in the net. Gettysburg ended regulation with a 12-7 advantage in shots.
Gettysburg threatened early in overtime, hitting the post in the 94th minute and forcing LoSapio to make a diving save in the 95th.
The Hornets' counter-attack, however, struck quickly. Lynchburg's defense played the ball upfield after a Gettysburg foul, where it found its way to Olds, who won a ball in the air and deflected it toward Mertens with her head. The senior found herself one-on-one with a charging Sammon and hammered home the winning score.
The golden goal is Mertens' third in her Hornets career. She scored overtime goals twice last season: Oct. 13 vs. Roanoke on Senior Night, and Nov. 5 against Bridgewater to clinch the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship.
Shellenberger Classic action will continue Saturday, Sept. 1 with a pair of matches. Gettysburg will take on Roanoke at 2 p.m., followed by Lynchburg's tilt with Maryville at 4:30.