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Monroe College Rallies Past Lake County 2-1; No. 1 Iowa Western Next

Nov. 19, 2013 - Freshman Gemma Craine weaved her way through the College of Lake County defense and not to be denied beat goalkeeper Chelsea Knaack for what proved to be the winning goal as Monroe College defeated the Lancers 2-1 on Tuesday.

The victory in the opening game of the second day of the NJCAA Division I Women's Soccer National Championship Tournament set up Wednesday's 10 a.m. match-up between Monroe, of New Rochelle, NY, and top seed Iowa Western Community College for the right to advance to Friday's semifinals.

Craine, from Derby, England, shook off a case of painful shin splints to make her decisive run.

"It was good, it was a good game," Craine said. "It took us a while to settle in but I know we can play better, way better. It's just settling in, we're in Florida. It's a lot different. In New York it's freezing. Here it's boiling hot."

Monroe head coach Jonathan Garbar seconded Craine's assessment on the slow start.

"We didn't play enough football today, we didn't use the field to our advantage," Garbar said. "We didn't possess the ball the way I was hoping we would. We didn't finish opportunities.

"I thought we came out anxious, it was our first time in the national tournament. On a positive side I thought they showed a lot of character. We haven't struggled like this in a while. They put together enough good football to be able to finish it out. And they showed individual talent. As a team we've got to play better."

On another note though: "We can't wait for tomorrow (Wednesday)," Garbar said.

Lake County took the lead on a goal from freshman Sandra Zavala on an assist from freshman Kenia Dominguez with 11:40 to play in the first half.

The goal broke a 304-minute scoreless streak for Lake County in the national tournament dating back to its twin shutout defeats in 2012 and it being blanked 5-0 by Iowa Western on Monday.

The goal came after heavy early pressure from Monroe and after a sparkling foot save from Monroe goalkeeper Devyn Bryar earlier in the half.

Monroe kept Knaack equally as busy in the first half - including a goalmouth scramble in the opening seconds - but the Mustangs couldn't find the back of the net.

Sophomore Taylor O'Leary drew Monroe even at 1-1 with a penalty kick that beat Knaack with 41:26 remaining in the second half. It followed freshman Areli Luna being pulled down in the 18-yard box.

Lake County is now finished in the tournament with two defeats.