From LEE SPORTS INFORMATION
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The No. 6 Lee women's soccer team's storybook season will continue after another exhilarating chapter was written Sunday afternoon with a penalty kick win over Nova …
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The No. 6 Lee women's soccer team's storybook season will continue after another exhilarating chapter was written Sunday afternoon with a penalty kick win over Nova Southeastern in the second round of the NCAA Division II National Championship.
Time was slipping away from the Lady Flames as they trailed the Sharks, 1-0 heading into the 89th minute of the contest when the GSC Player of the Year Summer Lanter scored in her fifth straight postseason game to tie things up and send the match to overtime.
The score was set up when a Nova defender slipped in the rainy field conditions and Mia Hollingsworth jumped on the opportunity and fired a shot off the goalkeeper with Lanter waiting to clean up the rebound.
After two scoreless overtime periods the match headed to penalty kicks. Lee would grab a crucial lead after makes from Taylor Green, Lauren Peters and Suzanne Arant and a lunging save from senior goalkeeper Haley Gribler.
After a Lee miss, Nova had a chance on their final attempt to tie things up but the shot sailed high to send the Lady Flames to the Sweet 16.
"I have never been around a group with this much character and determination," said Gribler who earned three saves in the match. "We just felt like we weren't supposed to go home yet so I knew during penalty kicks everyone was going to step up and take care of the job and they did. We are so excited to be continuing this special playoff run next week."
Lee held a commanding 23-9 edge in shots and a 12-4 advantage in shots on goal. The Lady Flames earned nine corners compared to just two for Nova.
"I've been through so many emotions over the game, it's an incredible feeling, I thought through the balance of the game we deserved to win and girls played so hard I'm just happy for the girls and really I'm speechless right now," said Lee head coach Chris Hennessey.
Bailey Corbin gave the Sharks the lead with a goal in the 64th minute as she headed home a free kick from Monica Orteu.
"I'm so happy for Haley and what she was able to do today to help the team," said Lee assistant and goalkeeping coach Luidgi Beauzille. "She looked me in the eyes before the PK's and she had a look of determination and that gave me peace. I knew she was going to finish the job."
The stunning last-second goal and eventual shootout win was redemption for the Lady Flames who were eliminated a year ago in the first round of the NCAA Championship on a buzzer-beating goal in overtime by Rollins College.
"I really want the girls to enjoy this, what a wonderful achievement to be one of the last 16 teams in the country. Obviously will get ready for next week but right now we need rest and to find a place to have nice steak," Hennessey concluded.
The Lady Flames will now square off with a familiar foe in GSC rival West Florida from Carson-Newman University on Friday. The winner of the match will square off with the winner of Carson-Newman and Columbus State in the elite eight on Sunday.
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