NEWBERRY — With the final seconds ticking off the clock in the first overtime period, Newberry and Mercyhurst appeared destined for a second 10-minute stanza of high stakes, sudden victory field hockey to determine a winner.
The Wolves (1-1) had already peppered Lakers’ (1-1) goalkeeper Victoria Triaga with six shots in the extra frame, forcing her to make save after save to extend the contest.
But Farai Kawonde took a pass on the right side, deftly maneuvered past a defender, and rocketed a shot at Triaga with eight seconds left in the period. Triaga was able to deflect the ball away, but Kawonde collected the rebound and found the back of the goal near the far post to give Newberry a 4-3 win just six seconds from a second overtime period, setting off a wild celebration along the Wolves’ sideline.
Newberry consistently pressured the Mercyhurst defense throughout the 10-minute extra session. The Wolves fired off two shots off a corner just over a minute in, had a shot blocked less than two minutes later, then forced Triaga to make a pair of saves at the midway point.
Allison Davis came up big for the Wolves as well, making three saves in a seven-second span near the six-minute mark of the period. She turned away an initial Mercyhurst shot before saving two more attempts off rebounds at close range.
The Wolves had taken an early 1-0 advantage on a Haley Smith goal 16 minutes into the contest, but Mercyhurst responded five minutes later with an equalizer on their first shot of the game. The Lakers took the lead for the first time five minutes into the second half with a goal off a penalty corner.
Megan Eisenhardt triggered a Newberry corner in the 45th minute, however, and found Brady Keeler near the top of the arc. Keeler rocketed a shot through the Mercyhurst defense and into the goal for her first tally of the 2018 season.
The back-and-forth affair continued with a Mercyhurst goal in the 53rd minute, but with the clock ticking down below nine minutes to play, the Wolves once again answered the call. Mariah Lee found Shannon Springer with a pass from the top of the arc, who turned and beat the keeper to tie the score for the third time.
“[Assistant coach Rachel Goromonzi and I] are really proud of how hard the team fought until the very end,” said Head Coach Hannah Dave. “We’ve been looking to fix the mistakes that were made in our first game. The conditions were really tough today, but the team didn’t let the heat get in the way of their play. We’ve worked in the heat to prepare us for games like this, and for these overtime situations, so to see us be able to fight until the very end was an exciting way to end the game.”
Newberry placed 13 of its 15 shots on target while allowing the Lakers to take 10 shots. The Wolves also led 5-4 in penalty corners.
Newberry returns to action Wednesday with a South Atlantic Conference Carolinas game at first-year program Coker at 4:00 p.m.