LEXINGTON, Va. - A golden goal by true freshman Katelyn Lauziere in the 92nd minute gave the eighth-seeded VMI Keydets a thrilling 1-0, overtime win over the ninth-seeded Bulldogs of The Citadel in the opening match of the 2016 SoCon Women's Soccer Championship, contested Wednesday afternoon in Lexington, Va.
After the teams had played through the first 90 minutes scoreless, a long kick by VMI (8-11) goalkeeper Ceci Keppeler led to a quick break for Taylor Callahan and Lauziere. Callahan headed the ball across the box to Lauziere, who lofted a shot from the top right of the box, about 10 yards out. It arched over the head of Citadel goalkeeper Logan Leask for the game-winner, and Lauziere's third score of the season.
With the win, VMI advances to play top-seeded Samford Saturday evening in Birmingham, Ala. The Citadel's season ends at 5-13.
VMI attempted nine total shots in the first half, five of which were stopped easily by Leask. The Citadel keeper was up to the task and her team nearly broke through in the 47th minute. A blast by Mady Riegel from 15 yards out drilled the bottom of the crossbar, bounced straight down and then away from the goal.
The match remained scoreless, but again, the Bulldogs nearly took the lead 21 minutes later. Another shot by Riegel was the cause, but Keppeler made a sliding save to knock the try away and keep it 0-0. VMI then grabbed the victory early in the extra period.
The victory was VMI's first postseason win since defeating Winthrop on Nov. 6, 2008, and just the program's second such win ever. The Keydets had advanced twice in conference tournament action in the years since, but had done so via penalty kick shootouts on both occasions, including last season. Such advancements are officially recorded as ties.
In addition, Lauziere's goal was the first postseason overtime goal in VMI women's soccer history, and Callahan's assist was also a program postseason overtime first. The eight wins VMI has now posted on the year are the second-most in program history, trailing only the 10-win 2008 team.
For the match, VMI finished with a 17-14 edge in shots and 8-3 edge in shots on goal. Leask was credited with six saves to three for Keppeler, while VMI had seven of the match's 10 corner kicks.
Once again, VMI women's soccer will return to action Saturday, taking on the three-time defending regular season champion Samford Bulldogs in Birmingham, Ala. Opening kick is set for 7 p.m.