ALLENDALE, Mich. — Following a program-record 16th win for a season in a dramatic, 2-1 (2OT) victory over McKendree on Friday, Ohio Dominican's women's soccer team continues its historical run with an NCAA Championship second round match on Sunday at 1 p.m. at No. 4 Grand Valley State, the top seed in the NCAA's Midwest region.
ODU (16-4-1, 11-2-1 G-MAC) earned its first NCAA Championship win Friday, as senior Alli Pavlik (Cortland, Ohio) scored two goals on assists from sophomore Madeline Reimbold (Fort Wayne, Ohio) and junior Allie Atkinson (Ontario, Ohio) to power the Panthers to the 2-1 (2OT) victory over the Bearcats. The game winning goal by Pavlik came with just over a minute left in the second overtime before the two teams went to a penalty kick shootout. Atkinson fired a rocket at the McKendree keeper from the right wing, and Pavlik came flying down the left side of the field, putting a shot past the Bearcat defense that crossed the goal line to advance the Panthers to the second round of the NCAA Championship.
"This day has been long coming for Ohio Dominican women's soccer," ODU head coach Aimee Haywood said following the victory.
Ohio Dominican might be in uncharted territory, but the Panthers will face a familiar opponent in the Lakers on Sunday. ODU faced 2016 national runner-up Grand Valley three times last season and holds the distinction as being the last GLIAC team to beat the Lakers in conference play, snapping their 69-match home unbeaten streak with a 1-0 victory on Friday, October 17, 2014.
Grand Valley boasts the second-most potent offensive attack in NCAA Division II, averaging 4.19 goals per match. Leading the way for GVSU is standout forward Gabriella Mencotti. The senior ranks second in NCAA Division II in goals scored (26) and points (61) and earned 2016 D2CCA Player of the Year honors. The Lakers have outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 16-0 in their last three matches.
But the Panthers are in the midst of their finest season in program history and are playing their best soccer of the year. ODU has outscored its last eight opponents by a combined margin of 22-3 and will look to carry its momentum into the match with Grand Valley State.
"We're going to keep working," Haywood said. "This group has been working towards this goal since January and they have put in so much work and time on and off the field in their physical work, technical work, their relationships and their leadership."
Ohio Dominican and Grand Valley State square off on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the GVSU Soccer Field in an NCAA Championship second round contest in the Midwest region. The match will be aired on ESPN3 and the winner will move on to face second-seeded Quincy in the Midwest regional final next week.
Contact: Aaron McPherson