ELON, N.C. – Elon University women’s soccer scored three goals in a thrilling 3-3 double overtime draw against reigning CAA Champion Northeastern on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 8, at Rudd Field.
The Phoenix scored three goals in the first 21 minutes and held off a strong Northeastern side for the draw. Meredith Christopher scored just 53 seconds into the match, Lauren McKeever added a second in the 11th minute, and Reena Wichmann finished Elon’s third in the 21st minute to give the Phoenix a 3-2 lead at halftime.
Kayla Cappuzzo would score the equalizer in the 57th minute to level the match at 3-3, the only goal scored for the remainder of the match, and Elon earned a crucial point against the Huskies on Sunday.
“Northeastern is a top team,” said head coach Chris Neal. “They are incredibly athletic, skillful, and the defending CAA champions. We knew an extraordinary effort was needed today, especially since they were coming off a bye and we had just played two consecutive double OT matches. I’m incredibly proud of our student-athletes. We have some real warriors on this squad.”
The Phoenix moves to 8-4-4 overall and 1-2-3 in CAA play after earning the draw and a point in conference action. Northeastern becomes 9-4-2 overall and remain unbeaten in league play with a 3-0-2 record.
Christopher and Tori Baliatico combined for the first goal of the game just 53 seconds into the match. Molly Gradl flicked the ball to Baliatico who made a run down the left sideline, and crossed a ball to the top of the six-yard box to a bolting Christopher, who smashed her seventh goal of the season.
The Phoenix extended its lead 2-0 in the 11th minute off another cross from Baliatico. The cross slipped past Christopher and found a trailing McKeever and the junior placed her shot into the far left corner.
Northeastern pulled back with a goal in the 19th minute after Julianne Ross’ header off Mikenna McManus’ cross found the top left corner to cut into Elon’s lead 2-1.
Less than two minutes later, Wichmann made an immediate impact as a substitute for the second straight match, scoring less than a minute after coming on the pitch. Her goal extended Elon’s lead 3-1 in the 21st minute.
The Huskies cut Elon’s lead 3-2 in the 36th minute. Carly Wilhelm made a run into the box and her header off Taylor Caparo’s cross cut the maroon and gold’s lead to one right before the half.
Hanna Macaulay made a huge save to keep the Phoenix in front in the 54th minute. Cappuzzo got behind the Phoenix defense and the senior made a big one-on-one to maintain Elon’s lead.
Cappuzzo leveled the match in the 57th minute dribbling past several Phoenix defenders and slip a ball past Macaulay make the score 3-3 with just over 33 minutes remaining in regulation.
The Phoenix had three more chances in the 63rd and 64th minutes. Kendall Ballotti had a header saved and Christopher’s two shot less than two minutes later were blocked.
Elon’s defense stood firm in the final minutes, blocking three of Northeastern’s shots and Macaulay saved another in the last minute to send the match to overtime.
Northeastern’s best chance in the overtime period came in the 98th minute. After Macaulay cleared a dangerous ball at the edge of the box, and Kerri Zerfoss’ follow-up shot from distance hit the left post. Hannah Doherty had two shots in the second overtime, which were both saved by Huskie goalkeeper Nathalie Nidetch, and the match ended in a draw.
Northeastern outshot the Phoenix 29-14 and had a 9-3 edge in the corner battle. Macaulay moves her record to 6-2-4 making five saves, including her huge one-on-one save 10 minutes into the second half against Cappuzzo.
– The Phoenix has now played in three straight double overtime matches and is 1-0-2 in those matches.
– During the three match unbeaten run, Elon has scored seven goals during that span.
– Meredith Christopher leads the CAA with 22 total points after scoring two goals and added two assists this week. She scored and had an assist in the draw against the Huskies.
The Phoenix heads to league-leading Hofstra on Sunday, Oct. 15, for 12:30 p.m. CAA kickoff at Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.