The stage was set for the ultimate in storybook endings at the Rochester Lady Lancers inaugural home opener.
Match tied 1-1, the final seconds of stoppage time winding down, and a penalty awarded after a tackle in the box.
New York Magic goalkeeper Sierra Bonham, however, spoiled the party. She lunged to her right to thwart Taylor Wingerden’s kick and the Lancers settled for the 1-1 United Women’s Soccer draw on Sunday afternoon at Wegmans Stadium on the Aquinas Institute campus.
“I was thinking it’s the 93rd minute, this needs to go in,” Wingerden said. “I didn’t get as much on it as I wanted but I think she (Bonham) picked the right place to dive.”
The big stop, one of seven saves for Bonham, put the only real damper on the afternoon as the Lady Lancers burst onto the Rochester sports scene. After playing their first two games on the road – losing 6-0 to New Jersey Copa FC and 5-1 to the New England Mutiny – they were on the friendly home pitch on Sunday.
“It was nice to come home and have a fan base and family here,” Wingerden said.
“It was a blast; it was a great crowd for our first game,” said Alexa Antetomaso, who scored the Lady Lancers goal off a pass from Wingerden in the 32nd minute for a 1-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long though. The Magic (0-0-1) drew even when Reny Viviana Roncancio Farfan converted a corner kick by Mami Yamaguchi in the 36th minute.
The Lady Lancers certainly had ample opportunity to score the winning goal but shots either went just wide or Bonham made saves.
Antetomaso had two great scoring chances in the second half, including one in the 78th minute off another Wingerden set-up, but didn’t hit the net.
“The girl just caught the tail end of my cleat,” she said. “Next time we definitely have to capitalize but we’re still learning each other’s styles of play.”
The team went from concept to creation in just 30 days, so there was very little training time before the first two road games. The Lady Lancers (0-2-1) now have two weeks before their next game, again at home, against the Long Island Rough Riders on June 4.
“We haven’t been practicing very long at all so I really like where we’re going to be as a team,” Wingerden said.
With 18 players from the greater Rochester area on the roster, Sunday’s home opener was special. Some players, like Antetomaso, hadn’t been on a local pitch since high school. She played the past four collegiate seasons at the University of Georgia.
“It was great to play in front of my family and not through a computer,” she said.