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 Dec 20
4:00 PM
Hood
vs. Lynchburg
@ Daytona Beach, Fla. Daytona Beach Shootout
Sat Dec 21
4:00 PM
Lynchburg
vs. Marymount (Va.)
@ Daytona Beach, Fla. Daytona Beach Shootout
Wed Jan 01
2:00 PM
William Peace
vs. Lynchburg
Thu Jan 02
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph-Macon
Sat Jan 04
2:00 PM
Va. Wesleyan
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Jan 04
4:30 PM
Johns Hopkins
vs. Lynchburg
Tue Jan 07
7:00 PM
Guilford
vs. Lynchburg
Wed Jan 08
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph
Sat Jan 11
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Shenandoah
Wed Jan 15
5:00 PM
Washington and Lee
vs. Lynchburg
View Full Schedule
No events to show.
No Event
No Event
No Event
No Event
Fri Nov 08
Final
87 Lynchburg
78 vs. Albertus Magnus
@ Hood College, Frederick, Md. MMI Tip-Off Tournament
Sat Nov 09
Final
62 Lynchburg
75 at Hood
MMI Tip-Off Championship
Wed Nov 13
Final
88 Lynchburg
68 at N.C. Wesleyan
Sat Nov 16
Final
69 Hampden-Sydney
74 vs. Methodist
@ Lynchburg, Va. Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 1
Sat Nov 16
Final
80 Pfeiffer
91 vs. Lynchburg
Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 2
Sun Nov 17
Final
99 Hampden-Sydney
108 vs. Pfeiffer
@ Lynchburg, Va. Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 3
Sun Nov 17
Final
69 Methodist
93 vs. Lynchburg
Wayne Proffitt Classic -- Game 4
Fri Nov 22
Final
84 Lynchburg
88 vs. Mary Washington
@ Newport News, Va. CAC/ODAC Challenge - Game 1
Sat Nov 23
Final
77 Lynchburg
79 at No. 9 Chris. Newport
CAC/ODAC Challenge - Game 4
Sun Dec 01
Final
81 Lynchburg
68 at Bridgewater (Va.)
Wed Dec 04
Final
73 Lynchburg
78 at Ferrum
Sat Dec 07
Final
51 East. Mennonite
90 vs. Lynchburg
Wed Dec 11
Final
61 Lynchburg
42 at Averett
Wed Jan 01
2:00 PM
William Peace
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Jan 04
2:00 PM
Va. Wesleyan
vs. Lynchburg
Wed Jan 08
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph
Wed Jan 15
7:30 PM
Hampden-Sydney
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Jan 18
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Emory & Henry
Wed Jan 22
7:00 PM
Ferrum
vs. Lynchburg
Coaches vs. Cancer Week
Sat Jan 25
2:00 PM
Washington and Lee
vs. Lynchburg
Alumni Day | Coaches vs. Cancer Week
Wed Jan 29
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Roanoke
Sat Feb 01
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Va. Wesleyan
No Event
No Event
No Event
No Event
View Full Schedule
No Event
No Event
No Event
No Event
Sun Nov 10
Final
60 Meredith
81 vs. Lynchburg
Tue Nov 12
Final
39 Lynchburg
70 at Averett
Fri Nov 15
Final
39 Lynchburg
52 at Emory
Emory Holiday Inn Tip Off Classic (Game Played at Agnes Scott)
Sat Nov 16
Final
64 Colorado Col.
76 vs. Lynchburg
@ Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Ga. Emory Holiday Inn Tip Off Classic
Wed Nov 20
Final
73 Lynchburg
60 at Hollins
Mon Nov 25
Final
61 East. Mennonite
82 vs. Lynchburg
Wed Dec 04
Final
58 Lynchburg
49 at Randolph
Sat Dec 07
Final
67 Emory & Henry
56 vs. Lynchburg
CODE RED Game
Fri Dec 20
4:00 PM
Hood
vs. Lynchburg
@ Daytona Beach, Fla. Daytona Beach Shootout
Sat Dec 21
4:00 PM
Lynchburg
vs. Marymount (Va.)
@ Daytona Beach, Fla. Daytona Beach Shootout
Thu Jan 02
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Randolph-Macon
Sat Jan 04
4:30 PM
Johns Hopkins
vs. Lynchburg
Tue Jan 07
7:00 PM
Guilford
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Jan 11
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Shenandoah
Wed Jan 15
5:00 PM
Washington and Lee
vs. Lynchburg
Sat Jan 18
2:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Va. Wesleyan
Wed Jan 22
7:00 PM
Lynchburg
at Ferrum
Sat Jan 25
4:30 PM
Bridgewater (Va.)
vs. Lynchburg
Alumnae Day
Wed Jan 29
7:00 PM
Hollins
vs. Lynchburg
No Event
No Event
View Full Schedule
No events to show.
No events to show.
Sat Oct 26
Final
3 Lynchburg
1 at Va. Wesleyan
Tue Oct 29
Final - OT
0 Guilford
1 vs. Lynchburg
Senior Night
Sun Nov 03
Final
0 Randolph-Macon
2 vs. Lynchburg
Match 3 - ODAC Quarterfinal
Fri Nov 08
Final - PK Away
2 Lynchburg
2 at Hampden-Sydney
Match 6 - ODAC Semifinal
Sat Nov 09
Final
0 Lynchburg
1 vs. No. 11 Washington and Lee
@ Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden Sydney, Va. Match 8 - ODAC Championship
View Full Schedule
Sun Oct 27
Final
1 Lynchburg
2 at Shenandoah
Wed Oct 30
Final
2 Lynchburg
1 at Guilford
Sat Nov 02
Final - OT
2 Va. Wesleyan
1 vs. Lynchburg
Senior Night | CODE RED Match
Mon Nov 04
Final
0 East. Mennonite
4 vs. Lynchburg
Match 1 - ODAC First Round
Wed Nov 06
Final
1 Lynchburg
4 at No. 14 Randolph-Macon
Match 2 - ODAC Quarterfinals
View Full Schedule