Women's Soccer: Mount Union Beats Ohio Northern in Overtime For First OAC Title Since 1996

Mount Union wins its first OAC women's soccer title since 1996 (Photo by Ken Colwell, Ohio Northern)
Mount Union wins its first OAC women's soccer title since 1996 (Photo by Ken Colwell, Ohio Northern)

ADA, Ohio – An overtime goal by senior Carolyn Balzano (Poland/Poland Seminary) led third seed Mount Union to a 2-1 upset win over top-seeded Ohio Northern in the championship game of the 2016 Ohio Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Tournament Saturday in Ada.

It was the first conference title since 1996 for the Purple Raiders (12-6-3), who are unbeaten in 11-straight games and claim the conference's automatic bid to next week's 64-team NCAA Tournament.

Ohio Northern (15-4) took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute of the game when Shelby Stephens got by two defenders and went to far post to score.

The Raiders tied it up just under three minutes before halftime when Balzano sent a crossing pass into the box that Nicole Lanese (Macedonia/Nordonia) headed into the goal for her conference leading and team record 23rd goal of the season.

In the second half, Mount Union goalkeeper Paige Freel (Niles/Niles McKinley) held off three solid scoring chances from the Polar Bears and it was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation.

Just over five minutes into overtime, Balzano found herself with the ball in Ohio Northern's defensive end. She managed to create space after beating two defenders and fired a shot aimed at the far post; the ball, aimed just out of the keeper's reach for the game-winner.

Mount Union makes the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history and will find out where and when they will play Monday at 1:30 p.m. on an online selection show on NCAA.com.