Fords advance into championship game on PKs

BALTIMORE – Goalkeeper Robin Chernow's biggest save of the game Friday night came in the fourth round of penalty kicks as she and her Haverford College teammates move on to the championship game of the 2013 Centennial Conference women's soccer championship after advancing past Gettysburg College on penalty kicks (5-3), following a 0-0 double-overtime tie with the Bullets in the evening's second semifinal match-up at Homewood Field on the campus of Johns Hopkins University.

Haverford (10-2-6) will square off against host, and sixth-ranked Johns Hopkins in the tournament's championship game Saturday at 5:30 p.m on the Homewood Field turf. Gettysburg's season ends with a 12-2-4 record.

A physical game tilted downhill for the Fords for much of its 90 minutes of regulation time and the pair of 10-minute overtime sessions. Haverford took a 13-9 edge in shots into the extra sessions and generated four more shots over that bonus 20 minutes of game time while holding the Bullets without a shot.

The best opportunity -- for either team -- to close out the game with a goal came in the final seconds of the first overtime when a loose ball, following a save at the right post by Gettysburg keeper Eliza Gray, squirted out to the top, center of the six-yard box for Mariah Baker. The Haverford senior was pressured from her right and had to rush a shot that sailed inches above the crossbar.

Baker would make up for the missed opportunity in the shootout, though.

Meg Boyer, Elizabeth Newman and Sophie Eiger were all able to convert their PK attempts for Haverford, but the Bullets that followed each Ford to the 12-yard mark equaled their efforts.

Baker led off the fourth round and poked a shot past Gray into the bottom right corner to provide Haverford with a 4-3 advantage.

Stepping up next for Gettysburg was their leading scorer, Georgia Ferguson. Her shot was toward the right corner but Chernow had correctly guessed in that direction, leaping off the end line and diving to her left to come up with her most important save of the game.

One more PK conversion would clinch things for the Fords and Kristin Hasselgren was up to the task, blasting a shot into the top, left corner of the goal to close out the nearly three-hour contest.

Chernow finished the game with four saves in addition to her stop in the PK rounds, and collected her ninth shutout of the season. Gray was also stellar in goal for the Bullets registering nine saves.

Friday's results extend the Fords' unbeaten streak to 15 games, tying the program-best mark set by the squad in the 2004 season.

Hopkins advanced into Sunday's championship game with an 8-0 semifinal victory over fifth-seeded Muhlenberg College earlier in the evening. The Blue Jays' only blemish on their conference record, 9-0-1, this season was a 2-2 tie at Haverford, 7-0-3 in the league, on October 12.

Sunday's final sets up a rematch of the 2012 championship game, won by Haverford on Hopkins' home turf by a count of 2-1.