Women’s soccer ties NJIT 1-1 with new overtime rule in place

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Freshman forward Karina Santelli controls the ball during Lafayette’s 1-1 draw with NJIT. She scored her first collegiate goal during this match. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

The women’s soccer team (1-4-1) faced off against the New Jersey Institute of Technology (1-1-4) on Sunday. The hard-fought game resulted in a tie, 1-1. 

Thanks to a recent rule change that got rid of overtime in regular season games, this match marked the first time that Lafayette has had a non-overtime draw. Before the rule change, teams would play two 10-minute overtime periods in a sudden victory format, and the game would only then end in a time if neither scored.

While the new rule saves the player’s legs, it prevented the Maroon and White from capturing the three points that a win in OT usually offers them.

“There are pros and cons to eliminating the overtime rule,” senior captain and forward Sara Oswald said. “Historically we’ve been a team that faced a lot of overtime and were successful with it.”

The Leopards were dominant in the first half of Sunday’s match. Lafayette took eight shots, three of which were on goal, compared to the Highlander’s two out-of-range shots. However, they could not muster a goal, keeping NJIT in the game. 

Moving into the latter half of the game, the Leopards finally found their rhythm. 

Senior captain and defender Rory Schauder’s free kick helped to advance Lafayette as her drive allowed enough height for freshman forward Katrina Santelli to head the ball into the goal at the 57th minute of the match. This was Santelli’s first career goal and the sole score for the Maroon and White.

“[Santelli] came in as a striker but is now filling a need for center back and proving to be solid in the air. Santelli got on three of the headed opportunities and executed the PK play perfectly,” Schauder said.  

In the minutes to follow, momentum shifted. The Highlanders were also awarded a penalty shot opportunity in the 64th minute, which made it past Lafayette goalkeeper junior Lindsay Dewar to tie the game with an unassisted goal. 

The battle at Lubetkin Field at Mal Simon Stadium continued, neither team slowing their pace. The composed play and consistent energy was an improvement from earlier Lafayette matches. 

“After the first goal [of the opponent] our team would usually sink and drop our heads. We are working on making sure we can deal with and face adversity,” Schauder said. 

Oswald was pleased with the Leopards’ ability to maintain their style of play regardless of the Highlander’s chaotic bursts of athleticism.

“We played with the ball on the ground, found [our] feet and built through the three levels of the field – from defense, midfield and eventually to offense. All while keeping our heads instead of matching [NJTI’s] frantic play,” Oswald said. 

 Despite Lafayette’s efforts, no score was added in the final quarter. Yet Lafayette, 11 shots on the cage, nearly tripled NJIT’s four offensive attempts on goal. 

Lafayette first-years pushed the attack of Sunday’s game. Midfielder April McDonald had four shots on goal, and Santelli contributed three shots. The freshmen are coming into an intense league of play, but Oswald appreciates their poise and respect for veteran players. 

“The biggest thing that the freshmen have done is just listen. They want to learn and get better, handling pressure well while taking in advice from upperclassmen who know the territory,” Oswald said.

The Leopards took the one point and were grateful to add something to their lower-than-expected season tally. 

“Coaches said if you’re not going to walk away with three points, you better get one,” Schauder said. 

 Lafayette will travel to Philadelphia, PA to face Drexel University on Sunday for a 1 p.m. match-up against the Dragons.