Panthers Rally and Advance in Region III Playoffs

Elise Clavel (Darl Zehr Photography)
Elise Clavel (Darl Zehr Photography)

After trailing 2-0 in the second half of their NJCAA playoff game at North Country Community College, the Tompkins Cortland women's soccer team rallied to tie the game, force overtime, and  then win the right to advance in the playoffs by winning the penalty kick round. The Panthers move on to face SUNY Broome in the semifinal of the Region III-B Tournament. The game will be at Broome at 2 p.m. on Thursday.

The playoffs always bring an elevated sense of urgency to each game. So when North Country scored twice in the final six minutes of the first half to take a 2-0 lead into halftime, everyone knew the time to respond was running out. As the intensity picked up in the second half, the comeback got underway. Elise Clavel (Ithaca/Lehman Alternative Community School) started the scoring, burying a free kick in the upper 90 to cut the deficit in half with 27:21 left in regulation. Seven minutes later, Clavel took a pass from Jessica Fisk (Waterloo/Waterloo H.S.) and beat the North Country keeper with a high shot, tying the game at 2-2. The final 20:25 of regulation were scoreless, and after two ten-minutes overtime periods failed to produce a score, the game went to penalty kicks.

North Country went first, and after each team failed to convert on their first attempt, the Saints took a 1-0 lead by connecting on their second attempt. The Panthers second try came up empty, but the third round opened with another miss by the Saints. Brianna Allen (Marion/Marion H.S.) stepped up and found the net, making it 1-1 at the end of three rounds. The fourth round was a huge one for Panthers goalkeeper Kerrin O'Shaughnessy (Worcester/Worcester H.S.). It started with her in goal, keeping the Saints out for the third time, and ended with her taking a shot and scoring for the Panthers. With a 2-1 lead going into the final round of penalty kicks, the Panthers were in position to end the game by keeping the Saints out of the goal one last time. Thanks exactly what O'Shaughnessy did, setting off a celebration as the Panthers advanced in the postseason for the first time since 2015.

Just like the game against North Country, Thursday's game against Broome will be a rematch of a regular season game. The Panthers and Hornets met in a rainstorm in Dryden on October 16, with Broome winning 2-0.