NEWPORT NEWS, VA - The second-seeded York College women's soccer team scored late in regulation and then converted the only successful penalty kick to earn the 2013 Capital Athletic Conference championship on Saturday at top ranked Christopher Newport.
The game officially goes down as a 1-1 tie with the Spartans earning the title 1-0 in penalty kicks.
Things did not look good early for the Green and White early as the Captains Bupe Okewo captured a Victoria Perry Cross and finished off a shot from six yards out to give CNU a 1-0 lead in the game's 12th minute.
The Spartans would manage to notch five shots over the remaining 31 minutes of the half but the Captains' Haley Casanova recorded stops on four of the shots to keep the Spartans off the board.
The Green and White continued to battle into the second half as their deficit remained at one. While the Spartan offense was fighting for opportunities, goalie Melanie Glessner (Waldorf, Md./Thomas Stone) and the Spartan defense held the Captain offense in check.
The Spartans finally capitalized on an offensive chance with just 2:51 remaining in regulation. Elexa Sherman (Collegeville, Pa./Methacton) fed a pass to Beth Bunn (Lothian, Md./Calverton School) in the right corner. Bunn lofted a cross to junior Jenn Lindsay (North Massapeaquea, N.Y./Plainedge) who snapped home a header, tying the game and saving the championship hopes for the Spartans.
The Captains squeezed off a shot 45 seconds after the Spartan goal but Glessner made another save to force overtime.
Okeowo got the only shot in either overtime as the two squads headed to penalty kicks.
Bunn was first up for the Spartans and the junior forward promptly converted the penalty kick for the 1-0 York lead.
Then a funny thing happened. All nine of the other chances were either missed or saved. Glessner was incredible as she saved four of the Captains' five shots with the fifth attempt missing the cage.
The championship was the Spartans' second in six CAC championship game appearances.
Long-time Spartan head coach Vicki Sterner was very proud of her squad.
"I am so proud of how hard the kids fought today," said Sterner. "We were down late in the game but we keep pushing forward until we finally got that game-tying goal. Once we got to penalty kicks, Mel was just awesome. She came up big when we needed her most. That's why she is an All-American caliber keeper. It's awesome to see this group of kids accomplish such a great thing."
The Captains outshot the Spartans 13-9 while York held a slight 8-7 edge in shots on goal. CNU held a 7-3 margin in corner kicks.
Glessner finished the game with six saves, not including her four stops in penalties. Cassanova recorded seven saves for the Captains.
The Spartans improve to 12-4-3 overall while the Captains' campaign comes to an end with a mark of 14-3-2.
The Green and White will find out who and where they will be playing in the NCAA Tournament on Monday afternoon at 1:30 pm. The NCAA Tournament appearance is the second for the Spartans. The NCAA Tournament selection show will be shown on www.ncaa.com.