RICHMOND, Va. – Northeastern's Nicky Graham scored in the fifth minute of overtime to give the Huskies a 4-3 win and put a damper on Virginia Commonwealth University's Senior Day festivities Friday at Cary Street Field.
VCU slips to 13-6 overall and 5-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association with the loss. The Rams, who secured a berth in the CAA Tournament last weekend, will be the fourth seed. Northeastern earned a spot in the tournament with the win.
After four minutes of frantic overtime play, Carolyn Mallory fired a hard shot to the right post, where a waiting Graham redirected the ball for the winner. It was Graham's second score of the match.
Prior to the goal, the Rams were threatening to score a thrilling come-from-behind victory. Trailing 3-2, senior Flore van Dessel (Oisterwijk, Netherlands) drew a hard foul inside the circle and was awarded a penalty stroke with 47 seconds remaining. van Dessel slipped a high, hard shot past the outstretched right hand of Huskies' keeper Lizzie Priest to knot the score. van Dessel is 3-for-3 this season on penalty strokes.
Despite two hard pushes on goal in the overtime, the Rams were unable to produce a shot on goal.
"Overall I thought Northeastern played a hard game," VCU Head Coach Kelly McQuade said. "I thought going into overtime we'd have some momentum after scoring with less than a minute left, but they're a great team."
Northeastern grabbed a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute on a goal from Malloy, but VCU answered with goals by freshman Stephanie DeMasi (Virginia Beach, Va.) in and sophomore Kelsey Scherrer (Chesapeake, Va.) in the 23rd and 51st minutes, respectively.
The Huskies tied the score a short time later and took the lead in the 67th minute when Graham redirected a shot from the far post off the stick of Crystal Poland.
Prior to the match, VCU honored senior twin sisters Flore and Marle van Dessel (Oisterwijk, Netherlands), who were playing in their final contest at Cary Street Field. The pair has been credited with helping to revive the long-dormant Ram program.
"They're great. Single-handedly, they have brought this team from the depths and been the heart and soul of the program," McQuade said.
VCU will wait to see its opponent and destination for the CAA Tournament, which will be played Nov. 5-6 at the highest seed.