The College of Saint Rose women’s soccer team is headed back to the NCAA Division II Tournament Final Four, and it happened in dramatic fashion.
Lexi Grassia scored 2:37 into sudden-death overtime Saturday, giving the Golden Knights a 3-2 victory over Concord in the quarterfinals at the YMCA Paul Cline Complex in Beckley, West Virginia.
The Golden Knights advance to the national semifinals at Switchbacks FC Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Thursday. The championship game is next Saturday.
It’s the second consecutive trip to the Final Four for the Golden Knights (17-1-4), ranked No. 8 in the most recent United Soccer Coaches National Poll. Saint Rose lost to Grand Valley State 3-2 in the 2019 semifinals. The tournament wasn’t played last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Saint Rose is in the semifinals for the eighth time. It won the national title in 2011.
“It’s just a fantastic moment,” Saint Rose head coach Laurie Darling Gutheil said during a Zoom call after the game. “[Concord was] a very difficult opponent, and the girls persevered. They believed in what they were here to do, and they relentlessly pursued it.”
The Golden Knights overcame a pair of one-goal deficits to pull out the win.
After a scoreless first half, Yasmin Moby gave the Mountain Lions a 1-0 lead at the 57:56. Less than three minutes later, the Golden Knights tied it on a Jen Bartlett goal.
Concord regained the lead on a Michelle Brogden goal at 70:19. Just over seven minutes later, Saint Rose knotted the score again when Ciera Lundy scored.
“It just demonstrates a collective will and belief and a relentless pursuit of what these girls wanted so badly for themselves and for each other,” Darling Gutheil said.
Grassia entered the game for the second time at 78:36. Taking a pass from Mia Klammer, Grassia beat Concord goalie Leah Marsh to end the game.
“I just knew that Mia was going to get a cross in, and I knew that I had to get a little separation for myself when the ball was in the air,” Grassia said.
Halftime score: 0-0. Saint Rose scoring: Lundy 1-0, Bartlett 1-0, Grassia 1-0, Klammer 0-2, Amerena 0-1. Concord scoring: Mosby 1-1, Brogden 1-0, Bekeleski 0-1. Goalies: Saint Rose, Laurendeau, 5 saves. Concord, Marsh, 7 saves.