Sparrows Point graduate Dani Zacierka missed the CCBC Essex season opener on Saturday in the first round of the Knights' Kickoff Classic.

She was in just a bit too much pain after having had her wisdom teeth removed earlier in the week - a pain that was magnified as she had to watch the Knights lose to defending NJCAA national champion Monroe (N.Y.) College 15-0.

Zacierka made up for lost time on Sunday, scoring two goals as Essex defeated Harcum (Pa.) College 4-3 in overtime.

Ryleigh Fachler (Perry Hall) poked in the winning goal in the first overtime off an assist from Mikayla Boyd (Eastern Tech).

In the frantic final seconds, Fachler raced the Harcum goalkeeper for the ball and was able to get enough of her foot on the ball to send it off to the right.

A Harcum defender reached the ball and trapped it between her legs, but wasn't able to prevent it from crossing the goal line as Ashlyn Hales (Eastern Tech) arrived to make sure the ball didn't come back out.

"Honestly, I didn't even know Fachler's shot went in," Essex coach Joe Fiedler said. "Then we saw everyone jumping around."

Zacieka's two goals tied the game at 1-1 and gave the Knights a 3-2 lead with 27 minutes remaining in thegame.

On her first goal, she took a crossing pass from Boyle on the left side of the goal, settled the ball and slammed it into the net.

On the second, Zacierka dribbled down the right side, outran a defender and scored on a close-range shot.

"Mikayla gave me a good ball and I took advantage of the opportunity, she said. On the second goal, "coach [Joe Fiedler] has been telling me to go one-versus-one with the defenders, beat them with my speed.

"I tried it, and scored."

Zacierka later took a hard hit to the head and had to leave the game.

"My jaw is still sore [from the wisdom teeth extraction]," she said. "The pain is noticeable, but when I'm playing I'm able to forget about it.

"I can't let it affect how I play. I'm not playing for myself; I'm playing for everyone."

Harcum had scored eight minutes into the game to take a 1-0 lead, and Essex tied the score 14 minutes later on a goal by Kara Dietrich (Perry Hall).

Sam Tornatore (Eastern Tech) faced 21 shots - 12 on goa l- and finished with nine saves.

Essex missed Zacierka and a few other projected starters against defending national champion Monroe College. The Mustangs ave five players from Brazil, including the starting goalkeeper for the Brazil under-20 World Cup team, and the Knights were simply out of their element.

Monroe led 8-0 at halftime.

With a revitalized roster, the Knights hope to usurp defending regional champion Harford Community College this season.

Sparrows Point graduate Emily Vetri, an outstanding defender who played on four state champion squads at Sparrows Point, joined Essex this season as a sophomore.

Other local players include Mia Brookshire (Sparrows Point), Trinity Pfeifer (Sparrows Point) and Tyler Ball (Dundalk).

There are also five Perry Hall grads on the team. In addition to Dietrich and Fachler, there are Amaya Purnell, Eleni Serevetas and Allyson Small.

The Knights host Montgomery College on Sept. 3 and Rowan College on Sept. 8.

A game at Harford Community College, which has dominated Essex in recent seasons, scheduled for August 27 was cancelled.

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by AvenueNews.com

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