Cunningham gives Bonnies 2-1 OT win over La Salle

ST. BONAVENUTRE, N.Y. — Junior Anna Cunningham’s goal in the 97th minute of overtime gave the St. Bonaventure women’s soccer team at dramatic 2-1 win over La Salle on Friday afternoon at McGraw-Jennings Field.

The win gives the Bonnies a program record seven A-10 wins, besting the record set by the 1999 and 2006 clubs. St. Bonaventure now stands at 10-9 overall and 7-3 in the conference heading into its regular season finale against Fordham. The Brown and White’s 10 wins also give them back-to-back double-digit win seasons for the first time since joining the A-10.

“I thought we were very fortunate to get a win against a very inspired and hard-working La Salle side,” said head coach Manoj Khettry. “I think it says a lot about our players’ ability to focus and to commit to winning to get a positive result in a match where we didn’t play our best.”

The Bonnies entered the game tied with Fordham for third place. The win, for the time being, puts the Brown and White in sole possession of third with 21 points until the outcome of Fordham’s game at Duquesne tonight is decided. With a Rams win, the winner of Sunday’s game will finish third, but with a Fordham loss, the Bonnies would need just a tie to take third place.

“Regardless of Fordham’s result against Duquesne tonight we have to find it within us to get a win on Sunday in order to finish in third place, which is where we would like to end up.”

Cunningham’s fifth career game-winning goal was made possible by a La Salle foul on sophomore Dakota Carroll just outside of the left side of the goal box. Sophomore Hannah Lapp then played a perfect ball to the center of the six-yard line where Cunningham headed it into the back of the net.

The goal was Cunningham’s third of the season and first in 13 games – by far the longest drought of her career. It marked the fourth time in the careers of Cunningham and classmate Courtney Bosse that they’ve scored a goal in the same game. Oddly enough, the last time the duo struck in the same game was last year at La Salle, also in an identical 2-1 victory in which Cunningham had the game-winning tally.

It took just four minutes and 33 seconds for La Salle to get on the scoreboard, as a miss-played ball at midfield by a Bona defender led to the 1-0 deficit. Traci DePasquale played a long ball up the right side of the field that made it past the defense to Melanie Gamble who streaked up the sideline for the goal.

The Bonnies knotted the score at 1-1 in the 18th minute on Bosse’s team-best eighth goal of the season. Sophomore Tori Burchett started the play with a cross from the right side that was deflected by Carroll right to a wide open Bosse for the goal.

La Salle controlled the pace of play over the opening 45 minutes, holding the Brown and White to just two shots, while getting off 10 of their own.

The Explorers kept the pressure on in the second half and had back-to-back scoring chances robbed by diving saves by junior goalie Nicole Markert in the 59th minute. Markert finished with six saves, pushing her season total 73.

Seniors Katelyn Shelofsky and Sarah Wolcott will be honored prior to the start of Sunday’s game against Fordham, which will be Senior Day at McGraw-Jennings Field. Gametime is slated for 1 p.m.