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Haley Parzonko’s Golden Goal Puts Westmont in NAIA Sweet 16

Haley Parzonko scored a golden goal two minutes into the first overtime period, lifting Westmont to a 2-1 victory over Carroll (Mont.) in the first round of the NAIA Women's Soccer Tournament on Saturday at Thorrington Field.

The victory sends the No. 10 Warriors (16-3-2) to the round of 16 in Orange Beach, Alabama, where they will face No. 6 Northwestern Ohio (18-1-3) on Tuesday Nov. 29 at 1:30 p.m.

The Warriors found themselves behind on Saturday, as Carroll (12-4-5) put together a nice combination play to take a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute. Michaela Kueffler crossed the ball to Cassidy Hammons who slotted the ball into the left side of the goal from eight yards out.

Westmont answered quickly. Ninety seconds later, Renee Gonsalves scored the equalizer with a far post header off of a corner kick by Parzonko.

“On their goal we had a loose defensive breakdown and I think our response to get a goal off of a set piece today was huge for us,” said Westmont coach Chantel Cappuccilli. “We have been looking to score a set piece goal for a while and it finally came off today. I think it gave us the momentum we needed in order to move positively forward into the game.”

Carroll had a significant opportunity to take the lead when it was awarded a penalty kick just before halftime. But the Saints missed the spot kick, leaving the score tied at 1-1.

“We have been in this position entering into overtime a number of times this season and we know what it feels like on both sides (the Warriors have lost twice, won twice, and tied twice in overtime games this season),” noted Cappuccilli. “So today, stepping onto the field in this first overtime period, we knew that we were going to have to play with a tremendous amount of passion and heart in order to beat a good Carroll team. We also knew that with the caliber of goalkeeper that Carroll has, it was going to take something special in order to score.”

In the first period of overtime, Westmont came out full of energy, and Maddi Berthoud had a chance to end the game when she found herself behind the Carroll defense in a one-on-one situation with the goal keeper. Berthoud fired off a shot and narrowly missed, hitting the upper crossbar.

Eighty-five seconds later, Berthoud and Parzonko combined to create something special. The game-winner came when Berthoud settled the ball inside the Saints’ goal box and laid it off to Parzonko who blasted the ball into the left side of the goal in a one-time finish from 12 yards out.

“It was a special moment to watch Haley smack the ball the way she did and send us to Alabama,” reflected Cappuccilli. “I am proud of the fight she had within her for the entire game. I couldn't be more proud of her effort on the day and the way that she finished that goal.”

“We talk about gratitude on our team daily and I think today is a day to be thankful,” continued Cappuccilli, “and so we will carry our thankfulness into the next week as we prepare for our next game.”

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