WEST CHESTER, Pa. – The Kutztown University women’s soccer team gave up two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half and were unable to grab an equalizer as it fell to Notre Dame (OH) 2-1 Friday afternoon in the NCAA Atlantic Region First Round at West Chester University.
The Falcons (14-4-2 overall) move on to the Second Round on Sunday, Nov. 12 to take on top-seed West Chester.
The Golden Bears finished the 2017 season 16-4-1, tied for the second most wins in program history. It was the seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in the last nine years for KU.
It looked as if Kutztown had some of that postseason magic in it from last year when sophomore
forward Emily Zwiercan happened to be in the right place at the right time to send a shot goal-bound off a rebound from Kristina Miller. The sophomore duo accounted for the game’s opening goal in the 21st minute of play. It was the 14th goal on the season for Zwiercan, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Athlete of the Year.
But after the two teams warmed up on their respective buses at halftime, the second half opened with a flurry from an energized Notre Dame team.
The Falcons’ Alexis Manoa, who gave the KU defense fits all game, found an attempted clearance land at her feet. She trapped the ball with her right foot, and her next touch was a curling, left-footed effort that was aided by a little wind, and snuck into the left upper 90 part of the goal to tie the game at 1-1 just 0:53 in.
With just under 10:00 later, Manoa assisted on a goal by Jackie Corrigan to give Notre Dame its first lead.
The Maroon and Gold kept fighting and pushing forward in a final 20-minute push, but Falcons’ goalie Kyra McDowell and her defense kept any KU attempt out of net. McDowell made six saves on the day.
Kutztown outshot Notre Dame 12-10 and 7-5 on goal. KU also held a 7-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Sophomore goalie Jenna Bracken finished with three saves.
It was the first time this season that Kutztown lost after leading the game.
Zwiercan and sophomore Maddie Mohr led the team with 14 goals.
KU will graduate two seniors in defender Morgan Staley and forward Hannah Oren, but will return a majority of its roster, and will have the experience of another postseason under its belts looking ahead to 2018.