Women’s Soccer Wins Championship from Pair of Thrilling Victories
By Bryson Eldridge – Co-Managing Editor
The Royals win the Landmark Championship over Drew University 1-0 from a thrilling goal off the foot of Junior Emily Tantala in the 90th minute.
In the second half, the Royals were aggressive offensively keeping the ball in the offensive end. After multiple attacks in a row that were blocked by the Drew Rangers goalkeeper or ended in a corner kick, Teresa Hegarty was able to slice through the defense to set up the Royals for one last shot.
Hegarty came down the right side and faced stiff defense from the Rangers backline, after keeping the ball in play she was able to make a pass to Tantala who in space was able to bend the ball into the top left corner of the goal with twelve seconds left in regulation.
“I knew the time on the clock and that Teresa was working insanely hard to keep the ball and get us one last chance and she amazingly was able to draw three players to her and still get off a smart pass. In that moment, I just wanted to do anything to put the ball in a dangerous spot for us and thankfully that worked out in the best way possible. When the ball went in the net I think everyone was sort of relieved and just so ecstatic because in that moment we felt all our hard work pay off,” Tantala said.
The Weiss Field crowd cheered loud as the Royals hugged Hegarty and Tantala. As the buzzer sounded the team ran on the field to celebrate with goalie Nikki Olson in epic fashion.
“Before the game, we talked about playing until the very last second and believing that with whatever time is left on the clock we can score. The last 15 minutes we could all feel the goal coming, it was just a matter of when. Celebrating the win and our season up until this point with this group of girls has been incredible,” Hegarty said.
This marks the third consecutive title for the Royals and clinches their NCAA Tournament bid for the 2022 season.
The Royals got to the championship game from an overtime winner from Emily Banon in the semifinal game to beat Catholic 1-0.
Weiss Field was filled with fog coming off the river to the point where players could not see the other side of the field.
After a stalemate after 90 minutes, Hegarty was able to make a strong advance in the corner beating two Catholic defenders with a sudden change of direction. Hegarty made a cross into the box that got past the Catholic goalie and forward Bannon was able to shoot into the back of the net.
The crowd erupted in joy as the Royals were able to hold Catholic defensively to clinch their bid to the Landmark Conference championship game.