It took three and a half hours and a venue change, but in the 106th minute, senior Connor McNiff headed in a corner kick to lift the fourth-seeded Lycoming men's soccer team past fifth-seeded Lebanon Valley, 1-0, in the opening round of the Commonwealth Conference Tournament.
The goal by McNiff, his third game-winner of the season, helped the Warriors (10-7-2) win their first conference playoff game since a Freedom Conference semifinal in 2004. Lycoming advances to the Commonwealth Conference semifinals, where it will face top-seeded Messiah at 7 on Wednesday.
"The guys were focused," Lycoming's first-year head coach Nate Gibboney said. "They got loose, went out and made a play. They were Warriors tonight."
Trevor Bishop (5) of Lycoming fights off a Lebanon Valley player as Connor McNiff (20) looks on Monday at the Shangraw Complex.
The game started at 3 at Lycoming College's unlighted Shangraw Athletic Complex, but at the end of the first overtime period, the officials pulled both teams off the field with the game still knotted at 0. Thanks to the presence of Williamsport boys' soccer coach Lee Karr in the crowd, arrangements were made to move the conclusion of the game to the lighted Balls Mills Soccer Complex.
"That was one of the most bizarre occurrences I have ever seen at a game," Gibboney said. "One of the things we've talked about with the guys is to stay focused and control the things you can control. The darkness, the field, the location, you can't worry about any of that stuff. You have to do everything in your power to control what you control."
After an hour delay to move the game and get the teams warmed up, the game continued and Lebanon Valley (10-7-3) continued to fire on goal, taking three of the team's 18 shots in the stanza. In the fourth minute of the period, Connor McDonald got inside the Warrior defense, but his shot flew high above the net.
Just two minutes later, the Warriors forced a corner and junior Luke Klingler lifted a corner to the far post, where McNiff headed the ball across the goal line and deep into the net before it was kicked out. The official stopped play and the Warriors celebrated one of the more exhausting wins in school history.
"Before the game, I talked to Luke and we said, he was going to get a corner kick and he was going to find me on the far post," McNiff said. "There was a mad scramble and it just rolled in."
In women's volleyball, the fifth-seeded Lycoming College volleyball team made several comebacks throughout the match, but fourth seed Elizabethtown posted a 3-1 (27-25, 25-15, 24-26, 25-20) win in the opening round of the Commonwealth Conference Tournament at Elizabethtown.
Elizabethtown advanced to the Commonwealth Conference semifinal, where it will face top-seeded Stevenson on Wednesday.
Lycoming 1, Lebanon Valley 0
L - Connor McNiff (Taylor Klaskin) 105
Shots: Lebanon Valley 18, Lycoming 10 Saves: Lebanon Valley 6 (Clements, James 6), Lycoming 8 (Connor Keenan 8)
Elizabethtown 3, Lycoming 1
Lycoming (25-11) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Kristine Jahn 12-0-1; Shelby Gear 12-0-3; Bethany Richardson 12-1-1; Maggie Slawson 10-0-1; Kylee Sutton 2-0-3; Lauren Fink 2-2-0; Katelyn McKillop 1-3-1; Amber Seibel 1-1-0; Kristin Whitehead 0-2-0; Totals 52-9-6.0. (Assists) - Katelyn McKillop 49. (Dig leaders) - Kristin Whitehead 13; Amber Seibel 11; Kristine Jahn 11; Katelyn McKillop 9; Cortney Tice 8
Elizabethtown (18-15) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Kelci Scannapieco 10-0-10; Juliana Mowen 10-2-1; Megan McNaul 8-9-2; Samantha Hicks 8-0-1; Abby Thrift 6-0-5; Karley Ice 5-0-3; Mary Clyne 1-2-0; Steph High 1-3-0; Carolyn Lukiewski 0-1-0; Totals 49-17-13.0. (Assists) - Steph High 22; Mary Clyne 20. (Dig leaders) - Carolyn Lukiewski 18; Juliana Mowen 13; Megan McNaul 12; Mary Clyne 9