Sophomore goalkeeper Lizzy Crist has played a big role for BR-2 Washington University, keeping them near the top of the NCAA Division III women’s soccer rankings, but rarely has she done more than in a thrilling double-overtime, scoreless tie with BR-4 Wheaton on Saturday.
Crist had a career best five saves, stopping two second-half breakaways. She turned away Anna Seabolt in the 58th minute, then again in the 71st minute to preserve the tie that kept Washington unbeated at 8-0-1. Wheaton fell to 8-1-1.
Crist earned the Bears’ starting job when returning junior Amy French broke her wrist in summer training camp. Nina Gershon is a third goalkeeper who saw some playing time behind French a year ago.
“It seemed like Amy and I were battling it out (to start). It wasn’t for sure going to be either of us or for sure going to Nina,” Crist told Studentlife.com. “Then, the second day, Amy broke her hand. So, it was between Nina and I.”
Crist knows the value of playing well as Washington seeks a fourth straight trip to the NCAA Division III tournament, the last three ended in the quarterfinals.
“Amy’s going to get better and when she returns she’s going to want to start,” Crist said.
The sophomore keeper actually kept Wheaton from an early score when she made a diving stop of Seabolt’s header in the first half.
“Our defense keeps everything pushed up in front,” Crist said of the backline led by senior Tessa Delaney and Tessa Klumpp and sophomores Hannah Rosenberg and Lexie Sprague. They allowed just the five shots on goal by powerful Wheaton. Washington has given up just a single goal in 835 minutes on 23 shots on goal this season.
“There are times when teams don’t even get into our half because our defense is such high pressure,” Crist said. “We keep everything in front of us.”
Washington’s best scoring opportunity in the battle of nationally-ranked teams against Wheaten came when Olivia Lillegraven shot from 30 yards only to have Wheaton keeper Kelsey Graham make the save.
Washington outshot Wheaton 31-14.
“I thought we had a great game,” said Washington coach Jim Conlon. “Obviously, the ball didn’t end up in the back of the net, but our effort was fantastic today.”