ANNVILLE, PA – York College senior attack Erica Mulford (Crownsville, Md./Seton Keough) converted an unassisted goal with 3:01 left in overtime to lift the #11 Spartans to a season opening 10-9 overtime win over Lebanon Valley on a crisp Thursday night in Annville, PA.
The Spartans improve to 1-0 as they are now 5-2 in openers under head coach Jen Muston. York is now 6-3 all-time in season lid lifters.
Mulford's overtime heroics were made possible thanks to a pair of late York College goals after the Spartans trailed 10-8 with 8:25 left in regulation.
The Spartans' Brittany Noell (Silver Spring, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) drew York to within one off a feed from Mulford as York inched closer with 5:20 left. York got the equalizer just over two minutes later as senior Jocelyn Hudson (York, Pa./Central York) received a Megan Stine (Stevensville, Md./Annapolis Area Christian) pass and put home the tying goal with 3:27 remaining in regulation.
After Hudson's goal, the Spartans earned the draw control only to have a turnover less than 20 seconds later. LVC had a turnover of their own and York turned that into a free position shot by Mulford with 2:22 left in regulation. LVC's Shelby Morris made the save on the shot, keeping the tie. The Flying Dutchmen eventually got a shot attempt from Bailey Benz but her shot was high and York scooped up the ground ball and headed to overtime.
In the extra session, Lebanon Valley had the first shot of overtime as Mel Modrick blasted a shot that was stopped by Spartan goalie Ashley Smith (Cinnaminson, N.J./Cinnaminson) for a save. York completed a successful clear and the Spartans got the game-winner with 3:01 left in overtime when Mulford found the back of the net for her third goal of the game and the 109th of her career. After the LVC won the draw control, York forced a turnover at the 2:34 mark. The Spartans would manage to burn the next 2:25 of the clock before committing a turnover with nine seconds left. LVC would be unable to get a shot off in that final nine seconds as York held on for the one-goal season opening win.
The one-goal margin is just the second time in school history in a season opener. York defeated Montclair State 8-7 in their 2010 opener in York. That was also a game played among sizable snow piles along the side of the field after the snow filled January and February of that year.
In the first half, the teams traded goals early until York scored two straight to take a 3-2 lead on a Melissa Ritchey (Hampstead, Md./North Carroll) free position shot with 16:54 left in the first half. LVC's Sam Boyce tied the game for the hosts but York got back-to-back goals from freshman Marissa Gochar (Mt. Airy, Md./Glenelg) and junior Allison Green (Ellicott City, Md./Howard) to take a 6-4 lead.
LVC answered with a pair of Boyce goals as the two squads headed to the locker room tied at six.
Modrick gave the hosts a short-lived lead with a goal just 58 seconds into the second half. Mulford answered with a pair of goals in a 38 second span to give York an 8-7 lead at the 26:19 mark.
The Flying Dutchmen responded to Mulford's spurt with three straight goals as Jen Simensky, Anna Pagels and Modrick scored as LVC took a 19-8 lead with 8:25 left. That would set up the Spartans' come-from-behind burst late in the second half.
Smith, the Spartans' senior netminder, earned the win as she recorded eight saves in her 66 minutes of work. Shelby Morris recorded 11 saves but suffered the hard-luck overtime loss for Lebanon Valley.
Mulford had a big night as the senior tallied a team-high three goals while she also had an assist for four points. She led York with six ground balls in the win. Ritchey added four points of her own with two goals and two assists. Stine distributed a team-high three assists for YCP. In addition to Hudson's game-tying goal late in regulation, the senior midfielder had a team-high four draw controls.
Boyce and Modrick led the LVC offense as they both had four points. Boyce scored four goals while Modrick added three goals and one assist. Bailey Benz dished out five assists to lead the hosts with five points in the loss. Morris led LVC with four ground balls.
Spartan head coach Jen Muston was pleased to get the win.
"I thought we fought all the way up to the very end to get the win," said Muston. "We had a lot of shots that we needed to stick and we missed some of those opportunities early. I am proud that we kept fighting and eventually getting those shots to go. It's a good way to open the season."
York finished the game with a 31-24 margin in shots while they also had a 20-16 edge in ground balls. Both teams earned 12 draw controls while both teams also went 1-for-4 in free position shots.
York forced 17 LVC turnovers while the Spartans committed 15 miscues in the win.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday, March 1 when they travel to Haverford College to face the Fords in a non-conference contest. Game time in Haverford, PA is set for 12:00 pm.
Erica Mulford photo by Scott Guise - Director of Athletic Communications