ALLENDALE, Mich. — Ohio Dominican's women's soccer team earned its first NCAA Championship victory and program-record 16th win in a season with a 2-1 (2OT) victory over McKendree in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Division II women's soccer championship on a frigid Friday at Grand Valley State University.
The Panthers (16-4-2, 11-2-1 G-MAC) will play in the second round of the NCAA Championship for the first time in program history Sunday against Grand Valley State in what has been the most successful season in the 18-year history of ODUWS.
Senior Alli Pavlik (Cortland, Ohio) scored two goals, including the game winner in the second overtime. With 1:01 remaining in the second overtime period and the match tied at 1-1, sophomore Allie Atkinson (Ontario, Ohio) struck a strong ball at McKendree keepr Zoe Brochu, who made a diving save to stop the shot and deflect the ball to the left wing. Pavlik swooped in and put a strong shot towards goal. The ball crossed the goal line, earning Ohio Dominican a 2-1 (2OT) win and its first NCAA Championship victory in program history.
McKendree (15-3-3, 9-2-3 GLVC) outshot the Panthers by a 20-17 margin, but ODU held a 13-9 advantage in shots in the second half and overtime and edged the Bearcats in shots on goal, 10-9.
Atkinson and sophomore Madeline Reimbold (Fort Wayne, Indiana) each notched assists in the win. Pavlik scored her 10th and 11th goals of the season and the third-highest goal scorer in the history of ODUWS scored the 29th and 30th goals of her career en route to victory. Junior keeper Marissa Wierzbicki (Powell, Ohio) recorded a season-high eight saves in the match.
McKendree took a 1-0 lead into halftime of the contest after a right-footed shot by Sydnee Carroll found the far, right side of the net in the 38th minute. Wierzbicki tallied five, first-half saves and helped prevent the Bearcats from scoring on four corners in the first 45 minutes.
The Panthers answered with the equalizer in the 60th minute. Reimbold found Pavlik in the middle of the box and the senior turned to her right and struck a strong ball to the right side of the net. The ball went past the outstretched hands of Brochu, tying the match at 1-1.
Pavlik scored the game winning goal just over a minute before a potential shootout between the two teams, and the Panthers advance to the second round of the NCAA championship for the first time in program history.
"This day has been long coming for Ohio Dominican women's soccer," ODU head coach Aimee Haywood said following the victory. "This group has been working towards this goal since January and they have put in so much work and time on and off the field in their physical work, technical work, their relationships and their leadership. We're going to keep working."
Ohio Dominican will face a familiar foe in Grand Valley State on Sunday. ODU faced the Lakers three times in 2016 and will return to the GVSU Soccer Field just three years removed from a 1-0 win over the GVSU in 2014 that snapped the Lakers' 69-match home, unbeaten streak.
Kickoff for Sunday's second round NCAA Championship match between Grand Valley State and Ohio Dominican is slated for 1 p.m. at the GVSU Soccer Field.
Contact: Aaron McPherson