The clock wound down in the second half of a scoreless Division II semifinal field hockey game on Friday between LIU Post and Merrimack University.
Post's 20-0 record was on the line against a 14-5 team that had forced them to two overtimes in a matchup earlier in the season.
That's when super sophomore Kelliann Margiotta scored the game's only goal with 5:45 left in regulation, sending North Region top-seed Post to the title game in search of its first national championship. The Pioneers will play South Region top-seed Shippensburg Sunday at 1:15 p.m. at Old Dominion University's L.R. Hill Sports Complex in Norfolk, Va.
Freshman Steph Mocerino found Margiotta on the left side of the cage and Margiotta deposited it for her team-leading eighth game-winning goal.
After being outshot 3-1 in the first half, Northeast-10 champion Post finally connected on its ninth shot in the second half.
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"[Friday] was different [from the first matchup,]" Post coach Raenee Savin said. "We had over a month since the last time we played them. Merrimack came out with a lot more heart and hustled for everything and outworked us the first half. During the regular season we had a bad game."
Margiotta, the 2012 Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference East freshman of the year when Post played in that conference, fulfilled her potential in 2013 by scoring 26 goals and assisting on 15 others.
"Kelliann has a lot of speed and she's very skillful," Savin said. "She's also a very solid defensive forward."
Margiotta is complemented on the offensive end by senior Carlee Dragon, who had 31 goals and 16 assists.
Dragon and Margiotta are second and third in the nation, respectively, in goals per game.
"They work seamlessly together," Savin said. "Very often teams will double-team Carlee which creates openings for Keliann or vice versa."
The final barrier between Post and a perfect season is 19-1 Shippensburg, the PSAC regular-season champ and top-ranked team in the country.
"Everyone underestimated us," Savin said. "No one expected us to be here. Even though we are the only remaining undefeated in all divisions, we are still the underdog -- and you always have to watch out for the underdog."