With just over one minute remaining in the second overtime period, senior Joanna Scotti got her head on a corner kick sent from senior Kaelin King and found the back of the net.
The goal earned the Leopards the overtime victory over rival Lehigh in the quarterfinal of the Patriot League Tournament, advanced the team to the semifinal and gave Lafayette it’s first playoff win in program history.
“At first, I was in shock because so many emotions come over you when you’re celebrating with your team,” Scotti said. “I was ecstatic. I think that it was definitely a team effort to hold off Lehigh for that long.”
The game saw 109 minutes of scoreless soccer despite Lafayette controlling much of the play. The Leopards outshot Lehigh 16-11 and earned four corners to Lehigh’s two. Both Lafayette keepers, senior Dani Sedillo and junior Kelly O’Brien, totaled one save a piece on the night. Lafayette had numerous opportunities, but it wasn’t until Scotti’s finish that the Leopards could solve the Lehigh goalkeeper.
“Our whole team had such a strong mentality and a great fire coming into the game that we knew just by the way everyone was playing, body language, the things we were saying on the field that we had it in us and we really wanted it,” Scotti said. “Everyone was playing with all of their heart and 110 percent. You could feel it, we didn’t have to talk about it, it was kind of just a thing we knew—that we were going to come out on top.”
Now, the Leopards hope to continue their historic season when they face top-seeded Bucknell in Lewisburg on Friday afternoon. When they met earlier this season, the Bison blanked Lafayette 4-0. Bucknell, the regular season champion who only lost once all season, is coming into Friday’s contest after enjoying a quarterfinal bye.
“We’re excited because we played well against Bucknell even though the scoreline doesn’t reflect that,” Scotti said. “So we definitely have a chance in this game. I think we’re fired up and excited to play a team again that we lost to and to really show our stuff. We’re just enjoying every minute of it.”
A win against Bucknell would send Lafayette to the Patriot League final and continue their historic run.
“It’s a little scary that every game could be our last but it’s still so exciting,” Scotti said. “We wouldn’t want to have it any other way.”