Karnes at 89:59. The box score will never do the moment justice. The Elis took all but one second to seize the most unbelievable triumph in Yale women’s soccer history.
Mighty Duke has fallen, and it’s on to South Bend and the Sweet Sixteen for the Cinderella Bulldogs.
In her final moment ever in home whites, midfielder Laurel Karnes ’06 stunned a packed Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium with the biggest goal in the 28-year history of the Yale (15-3-1) program. Off a throw-in with less than ten seconds to go, midfielder Crysti Howser ’09 found Karnes at the top of the Duke (14-6-1) box, and the senior poked it between the posts to notch the 2-1 win.
Raucous home fans barged over the flimsy ropes that were there to contain them, and chaos erupted in front of the opposing net. Scattered Blue Devil players sprawled on the ground, stunned by the defeat and disgusted by the celebration. Little did they know the game was not over.
After order restored, a jubilant Bulldogs starting eleven and its tearful counterpart across midfield lined up to play off the final second. Only after the Duke striker’s boot sailed far right of the home goal was the victory secure.
The Elis actually found themselves trailing despite dominating much of the first half. Out of a melee in front of the Bulldog net five minutes into the second half, the Blue Devils directed a short tap past goalie Chloe Beizer ’07 to seize the 1-0 lead. But Duke would only be on top for a few minutes. Defender Natasha Mann ’09 made the shot of her season, scoring from the top left corner of the box to knot the game at one.
Though extra time seemed inevitable, Yale finished the job in dramatic fashion. As one of only 16 teams left standing in the College Cup, the Elis will now prepare to face Notre Dame next weekend.