NORTHFIELD, Minn. – On a day dominated by the rain, wind, and a less-than-ideal playing surface at Bell Field, it was Nina Shapiro’s (Sr./Westwood, Mass./Westwood) goal less than a minute into overtime that proved the difference as the Carleton College women’s soccer team defeated Bethel University by a final tally of 3-2.
Just 37 seconds into the golden-goal extra period, the Knight’s Ellie Wilson (Jr./Roseville, Minn./Roseville), making a run up the right side of the pitch, played a perfect cross towards the back post. The pass found Shapiro, who notched the first goal of her collegiate career. The game-winning shot bounced off a Bethel defender on the goal line, into the left side of the net, and into the scorebook as an exhilarating overtime victory for the Knights.
“I thought we played a solid match today across the field,” said Carleton head coach Jocelyn Keller. “On a day with unfavorable conditions, we adjusted. We took shots that went in. It was a team victory to see Nina score off a beautiful ball from Ellie early in the OT.”
With both teams battling a slippery pitch, it was Carleton (5-3-1, 3-0 MIAC) that found its footing first. After a slow, measured opening to the match, the pace of the game picked up when Knights’ midfielder and leading scorer Bailey Ulbricht (Jr./Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) fired a strike by the diving Bethel keeper, Micale Jensen, for the first tally of the game in the 19th minute of play. Ulbricht’s low, bouncing shot took advantage of the slick turf, skimming past Jensen who lost her footing as she stretched out for the attempted save.
Later in the first half, however, Bethel (2-6, 0-3 MIAC) proved that the Knights were not the only ones who could take advantage of the conditions. In the 34th minute, the Royals’ Christa Heiligenthal tallied what would be the first of her two goals on the afternoon after Carleton goalkeeper Mikayla Coulombe (So./Crystal, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret's) couldn’t corral the slick ball on an initial strike from outside the box. The rebound off the Knights’ keeper found the foot of Heiligenthal as she ran through the box, and the score was tied up, 1-1. But just as it looked like things might be swinging the way of the visitors, Carleton struck right back.
Ulbricht, testing the Royals keeper from distance, managed to put the Knights back one top after her shot slipped through Jensen’s hands off a high bounce near the right post. The score moved to 2-1 in Carleton’s favor, where it would sit as the teams left the pitch at the end of the first half.
In terms of possession and control of tempo, the second half seemed to go the way of the Knights. Carleton managed the ball well in the midfield, and created a bevy of offensive opportunities throughout the half. With Madelaine Horn (So./Hamilton, Ont./Westdale Secondary) and Layne Teska (Sr./Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) locking down the central defense, Carleton was able to play more aggressively through the midfield, helping it establish a distinct 11-5 shot advantage in the period, and forcing the Royals’ keeper Jensen to record six saves.
Unfortunately for Carleton, its domination of the second 45 did not show up on the scoreboard. In fact, it was Bethel that managed to tally a goal in the 66th minute. After another rebound in the goal box off a touch from Suzette Anderson, Heiliegenthal managed to weave through the Knights’ back line, find her way to the ball, and blast it into the left side of the net. The score sat even at two goals apiece as the clocked ticked its way to full time.
However, Carleton did not let its disappointment carry into extra period. Shapiro’s goal less than a minute in to OT sent the Knights’ fans home happy, and pushed Carleton its fourth straight triumph and a spotless 3-0 record in MIAC play.
The Knights return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at St. Catherine University. Start time for that game is set for 4:00 p.m.