Flyers soar to sixth A-10 Championship
A new Atlantic 10 women’s soccer champion emerged this past weekend of play.
Top-seeded Dayton faced off against second-seeded Charlotte, as the Flyers continued their perfect season and came out with the 2-1 victory.
The 49ers (16-3-2, 9-0-2 A-10) struck first during Sunday’s game. In the 19th minute, Kirby Stenard took a pass from Oni Bernard and headed it into the net for her eighth score of the season.
Dayton (16-0-5, 10-0-1 A-10) was not to be outdone, as Colleen Williams evened out the score at 1-1 just over a minute later. The goal was William’s seventh of the season and came from an assist by Mandi Bäck.
The score remained tied until the 87th minute, when junior Jerica DeWolfe came through for the Flyers with the game-winning goal from 40 yards out.
Charlotte had a few opportunities to take the lead, such as a penalty kick in the 23rd minute that was missed by senior Hailey Beam. A goal was scored by the 49ers towards the end of the second half, though it did not count due to the player being offside. Charlotte also held a slight shot advantage over Dayton, 19-14, and 49ers goalkeeper Katherine Boone had eight saves and was named A-10 Defensive Player of the Year.
The A-10 championship win serves as the sixth for the Flyers – the most in its conference. Dayton also won the A-10 regular season title with its nation-leading undefeated record. Williams, who scored the first goal for the Flyers, was named A-10 Rookie of the Year. Bäck and sophomore Kathleen Beljan were named to the All-Championship team. Concluding the list of awards for Dayton was junior Cara Cornacchia, who was named the Championship Most Outstanding Player.
Saint Louis, Fordham advance
The A-10 women’s soccer championship started off on Thursday, Nov. 5 with games between Fordham versus Massachusetts and Saint Louis versus St. Bonaventure.
Third-seeded Fordham defeated sixth-seeded Massachusetts, 3-0, in the first game of conference play.
Annie Worden opened up the Rams’ (9-12-1, 7-4-0 A-10) scoring with her sixth goal of the season in the 30th minute. Fordham kept the 1-0 lead throughout the first half, until Michelle Ancelj increased the score to 2-0 in the 57th minute. Megan Cookson scored the final goal for the Rams in the 72nd minute off of an assist from Mariella Romano.
The Rams held a 27-7 shot advantage over the Minutewomen (6-11-2, 5-6-0 A-10). UMass goalkeepers Lauren Luckey and Emily Cota recorded 13 saves for their team. The Massachusetts offense, however, could not capitalize on any scoring opportunities, giving Fordham the win and advancement in the A-10 tournament.
Game two of the conference was a matchup between No. 5 Saint Louis and No. 4 St. Bonaventure.
The Billikens (8-9-4, 4-4-3 A-10) jumped out to an early lead with a goal from sophomore Andrea Barklage at the 2:15 mark. Senior Ashley Hayes was credited with the assist, her fifth of the season. Junior Ashley Brazill netted her fourth goal of the season to give Saint Louis a 2-0 advantage. Senior Kelly Waeckerle wrapped up the Billikens’ scoring with a goal in the 67th minute.
Saint Louis goalkeeper Hannah Perry recorded her eighth shutout of the season, saving four shots during the game, compared to Bonnies’ (10-11-0, 7-4-0 A-10) goalkeeper, Nicole Markert, who made 12 saves. The Billikens outshot St. Bonaventure 14-5 and claimed the 3-0 victory to advance to the semi-finals.
Semifinals Dominated by Charlotte, Dayton
Saturday’s A-10 conference semifinal games consisted of matchups between Charlotte versus Fordham and Dayton versus Saint Louis.
Fordham took the early lead in game one when Annie Worden scored in the first 45 seconds of play for her team-leading seventh goal of the season.
Charlotte’s Sam Huecker took a shot from 13 yards out and tied the score at 1-1 27 minutes later. The 49ers thought they had taken the lead with a Whitney Weinraub goal in the 83rd minute, but she was called offside and the goal was taken away. Six minutes later, Megan Minnix executed a pass to India Winford who scored Charlotte’s second and final goal.
Scoring opportunities by Leah Loguidice and Katie McDermott were shut down by 49ers’ goalkeeper Lauren Brown, who tallied four total saves and helped Charlotte to the 2-1 victory.
Rachel Suther and Sarah Zieman each played a half in goal for the Rams, combining for four saves.
Game two of semifinal play was dominated by Dayton who defeated Saint Louis, 5-1.
Colleen Williams netted an early goal for the Flyers in the third minute of play off of an assist from Cara Cornacchia. Williams scored again later in the first half, along with Tori Oelschlanger.
Saint Louis attempted a comeback in the 33rd minute, when Emily Kryzer took an assist from Susan Frederickson and moved the score to 3-1.
The Flyers’ senior Lauren MacCormick contributed a fourth goal to Dayton’s lead nearly 12 minutes into the second half.
The Billikens brought in backup goalie Amber Zdanovec as an attempt to stop the scoring frenzy. Kelly Blumenshcein was not deterred by this change in goaltending, as she took a long shot and scored Dayton’s fifth and final goal of the game.
Geena Lombardi can be reached at email@example.com.