St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 17, 2018 – Senior Caroline Dempsey converted a penalty kick in the 87thminute to help send the No. 1-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's soccer team past No. 15 Wheaton College (Ill.) 2-1 in the 2018 NCAA Division III Sectional Championship game Saturday at Francis Field in St. Louis.
WashU improved to 21-0 with the win, while Wheaton had its season come to an end with a 19-4-1 mark. The 21st win for the Bears set a single-season school record.
The Bears are making their third NCAA Semifinal appearance in the last four years, and fifth in school history. WashU takes on the winner of No. 3 Middlebury College and No. 10 Misericordia University in the national semifinals Friday, Nov. 30, at UNCG Stadium in Greensboro, N.C.
"Wheaton played an outstanding match tonight and we are very fortunate to get the result," said WashU head coach Jim Conlon. "Wheaton had us on our heels. We had to find the game tonight and got the extra pass and Jess buried it for the first goal.
The players deserve all the credit. They are locked in and have the right mindset. I am thankful for the players we have on our team."
Wheaton had the ball in the WashU territory for the first six minutes, and the Thunder recorded the first two shots of the game.
WashU took control of the first half the rest of the way, and senior Maggie Crist nearly broke the tie in the 11thminute when her shot from 40 yards out was saved by Lauren Ketchum and pushed off the crossbar for the save
The Bears finally broke through at 34:41 to take the 1-0 advantage. Senior Hannah Menard played a ball into the box that was settled by junior Taylor Cohen, who turned and slid a pass to freshman Jess Shapiro for the goal. The goal for Shapiro was her third of the season, and second against the Thunder.
WashU outshot Wheaton 11-3 in the first half, registering 11 of the final 12 shots. Ketchum had seven saves in the opening half for Wheaton.
In a second half where WashU allowed just two shots, it was Wheaton who tied the game in the 83rdminute after Isabelle Oliver blasted a shot off the far post that deflected into the back of the net.
With the match tied at 1-1, Crist nearly scored twice in a 36-second span. She sent a header into the box that Ketchum made a diving save, and then fired a shot off the crossbar at 85:58.
The game remained tied until 86:33 when a hand ball was called in the box to set up the game-winning goal by Dempsey.
WashU outshot Wheaton 17-5 and the Bears had a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Sophomore Emma Greenfield made two saves to pick up her school-record 21stwin of the season in goal.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: Wheaton leads the all-time series 13-8-3, and the Bears defeated the Thunder for the first time in six tries in the NCAA Tournament … WashU is 27-2-2 all-time at home in NCAA play … The Bears have allowed five goals in 21 games … WashU improved to 23-4-3 against ranked teams the last four years … The game-winning goal for Dempsey was her first of the season and fifth of her career … Conlon picked up his 190th career win at WashU.