The postseason’s finest met on the field this weekend for a much anticipated match up as they engaged in a duel that lasted 110 minutes before they were sent to penalties. Pulling out all the stops, the battle to the top was never dull with athletes who were on par every step of the way. Williams and Lynchburg played with passion making as the Ephs would say “every second count” at the National Championship.
Scoreless after double overtime, the Hornets were able to gain an edge over the three penalty kicks the Ephs earned with just one extra shot. With the Hornets initially advancing, the Ephs then took the lead creating a saga that continued throughout the game. This occurred until Marina Clark connected and Emily Maxwell and Samantha Bagherpour scored ending the night at 4-3.
Yet, the most exciting part about the game was the individuals on the team who shined their brightest. Just one minute into the first half the Ephs came out fighting taking a shot that was denied by the equally skilled Hornets. This started with Mia Mitsuyama, Crystal Lewin, and finally Kristi Kirshe who tried to get on the scoreboard but unfortunately fell slightly short.
In the 14th minute Dessi Dupuy sprung though on a pass by a long ball over the top from midfield but the fierce Eph keeper (Hannah Van Wetter) deflected the shot. However, the ball then fell to another Hornet but it was then received by William’s Louisa Costa who head the ball off the line and out of danger. Kirshe aggressive as usual, came out of the 6th minute fighting on a pass from Alison Magruder but was then blocked by Hornet keeper, Tess Frelick.
In the 20th minute, the Hornets advanced as Dupuy took a shot that was then saved by the Van Wetter. Back from her recent injury, Angela Bosco charge 55 seconds later but was met again by Van Wetter.
At the 25 minute mark, Eph contender Audrey Thomas took her shot at the goal on a brilliant passes from Kirshe and Lewin but the shot went amiss as it was sent a little too wide for the target. In the 29th minute Kirshe moved past the central Hornet defenders and Thomas muscled the ball until Frelick came off her line and regained possession of the ball before a shot was made.
Not dwindling defensively, the Ephs didn’t let up against the Hornets in the second half. Dupuy tried again in the second half but was met by the Ephs who worked their way up the field with their forwards leading the way. With 33 minutes on the clock, Clark was able to make her move taking a shot for Lynchburg but 30 yards out, the ball cleared the goal five feet above the crossbar.
The Lynchburg offense remained strong as Dupuy tried again three minutes later as the ball went pass the Van Wetter but was met by Eph Alison Magruder who cleared it off the line. Breaking through the equally strong Eph defense, Bosko fought down the left moving toward the box firing a shot pass Van Wetter until Magruder booted the ball off the line. In the next 20 minutes the two teams went head to head until Frelick saved a ball from Kirshe at 62:46. Jenn Snyder made her attempt at 11:22 but it fell too high as it was found by Kelley Smith beyond the top of the box.
Clark moved in at 9:55 taking the corner but Van Wetter met Clark stopping the ball. Daisy Thomas then cleared the ball from a Williams defender when Dana Nelsen gained a shot that landed on top of the net.
Remaining scoreless, Smith was able to get in two great shots in double overtime, one that missed a goal but only a few inches! Then in the first round Mitsuyama scored to Frelick before Smith tried to get past Van Wetter. While in the second round, Midfielder Jacqueline Simeone tried to gain an edge but missed as Clark connected.
The game came to a climatic end with Maxwell and Bagherpour scored with penalty kicks, gaining win and first time national title for Lynchburg. The season ended for the Hornets at 27-0-1 with a national record for wins in a season, breaking the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) record for wins, shoutouts, consecutive shoutouts, goals scored and points recorded in season.
Yet, Williams has not gone unnoticed at 21-1-1 gaining it’s first 20th win season in program history and berth in the national championship game. Team leader Lilly Wellenbach who made a ditch sliding tackle on Dupuy in the 88th minute made the All-Tournament team along with Maddie Swarr, Mai Mitsuyama, and offensive MVP, Audrey Thomas.