Betsill Saves the Game Late in MAC Opener vs. Widener

PURCHASE, N.Y. In a game that came down to the final shot of the afternoon, senior netminder Kirstin Betsill (Parkton, Md./Hereford) saved a free-position attempt with four seconds remaining to lift Manhattanville to its first victory of the season, a 16-15 MAC triumph over Widener in a tightly contested matchup on Saturday afternoon.

In a game filled with drama, the contest came down to one final showdown between Betsill and Widener's Calina Walz, who had already scored seven times and was 2 for 2 from the eight-meter line. But the senior keeper came up with a huge save her 12th of the contest to preserve the victory for the Valiants in their 2011 MAC opener.

Seniors also made major contributions on the offensive side as well, as Emelda Ogweta (Portland, Maine/Kents Hill) had a team-leading five goals and Darby Webber (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) added four tallies and an assist. In addition, sophomore Melissa Goncalves (Holtsville, N.Y./Sachem East) posted a career-best seven points on the day with three goals and a career-high four assists.

Saturday's game was a back-and-forth affair for much of the opening half, as neither team opened up anything more than a two-goal lead until the final minute. But down by a goal with 2:16 remaining, Manhattanville closed the frame with a 4-0 run, including three goals in the last 50 seconds and a free-position score by senior Jen Ascencio (Monroe, N.Y./Millbrook School) that just beat the buzzer and gave the home team a 9-6 lead at the half.

After 30 minutes, the Valiants posted a 21-13 edge in total shots, while Betsill and Widener keeper Linda Salcedo both made five saves.

The Valiants continued their run to start the second half, as goals by Ogweta and freshman Casandra Honovich (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y./Walter Panas) gave the Valiants the biggest lead of the day at 11-6. However, Widener would not go away and scored four of the next five goals to get back within two (12-10) with 13:49 remaining.

After the teams alternated goals for a few possessions, Amy Albano got Widener within a goal at 14-13 but Honovich came right back down the field to find the back of the net 21 seconds later and give the home team some breathing room. An unassisted tally by Ogweta with 3:10 put the Valiants up by three, and Manhattanville's lead looked to be safe in the final minute of play; however, Widener sprung to life and a pair of Walz goals made it a one-goal game again with 23 seconds left.

But after a tough foul call in the circle set up Walz at the eight-meter arc with a chance to send the game into overtime, Betsill came up with a huge stop to send the Valiants off as victors.

Manhattanville (1-1, 1-0 MAC) will return to action next weekend, as the Valiants look for their second MAC win of the year on the road at Wilkes University starting at 1:00 p.m. Widener (2-2, 0-1 MAC) will host Swarthmore on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.


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