MARION, Ind. (Box Score) -- A beautiful Saturday afternoon at Wildcat Field witnessed Houghton (N.Y.) College scoring a golden goal in the second overtime period to beat Indiana Wesleyan University 2-1 in a clash of nationally ranked women's soccer teams.
The Highlanders took advantage of three consecutive shots in the first minute of the second overtime to win. Wildcat keeper Jamie Speidel made an initial save on the winning play. After the first save, Houghton got the rebound and put another shot on net which was saved again by a sprawling Speidel. The rebound attempt found the head of HC junior forward Alyssa Figueroa on the opposite side of the net for an easy game winning put back goal.
"We didn't do a very good job of stopping the play and marks became unglued," stated Indiana Wesleyan head coach Dr. John Bratcher. "But Jamie made two great saves."
The contest was a rematch of 2009 and 2010 NAIA National Championship Opening Round match, which the teams split. This early regular season clash was a battle of nationally ranked programs as Indiana Wesleyan is ranked No. 8 and Houghton at No. 18.
"When you lose to a nationally ranked team there's nothing wrong with that," said Bratcher. "Who cares if we drop in the rankings, it's what we learned today. We learned what we can do and I learned what the girls can do. And I know they aren't going to give up in any game."
"We're going to get better by the end of the season. If a couple weeks ago you told me we would take this team to a second overtime I'd have been pretty happy."
Houghton struck first on Saturday with a goal by Figueroa at the 30 minute mark. The goal would stand until halftime as Houghton led 1-0 at the break.
Five minutes into the second half, IWU junior forward Kelsey Johnston crossed a pass to fellow junior forward Kylie Dial who was alone with the Houghton keeper. Dial quickly struck the ball to the far corner and snuck it in to tie the match at 1-1 in the 50th minute.
Indiana Wesleyan continued to pressure the Houghton defense and missed on some chances early in the second half. But Houghton was able to turn IWU away and then took control of the ball in the late second half. Houghton nearly won the match in regulation, but Speidel made her best save of the day to preserve the tie through regulation.
"We're a young team and it showed today. In the first half I thought we should have had two goals but we blew one over the top and whiffed on one," added Bratcher. "They played with heart which really showed today."
Today's match was the first of five which pits Indiana Wesleyan against a top-25 program or against a team that advanced to the NAIA National Championship last season.
"We'll take some time off and get ready for Lindsey Wilson," said Bratcher. "If we play like this we'll do ourselves proud and see what happens."
Indiana Wesleyan takes to the road for the first time this season on Wednesday at No. 6-ranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) College in Columbia, Kentucky. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.