POMONA, NJ-The York College women’s soccer team weathered the elements and a tough foe to capture their first-ever NCAA Division III National Tournament victory as the Spartans posted a 2-1 win over host Richard Stockton College in the opening round of the 2007 Tournament. The Spartans, who are now 14-5-3, advance to face either Johns Hopkins or Virginia Wesleyan in the second round of the tournament on Sunday. Richard Stockton concludes their outstanding season with a mark of 18-4-2.
The Spartans struck early as they came out of the gate flying high. The green and white seized control of the momentum early and converted their first opportunity. Freshman Steph Mergler (Street, Md./North Harford) struck a ball that caromed off Stockton goalie Alex Rogers and came to the foot of senior Erin Kuhn (Turnersville, N.J./Washington Township) and the Spartans’ all-time leading scorer promptly drove the ball in the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. That goal came at the 9:41 mark and was Kuhn’s team-leading tenth of the year.
The Osprey needed little time to notch the equalizer as Laura O’Shea converted a loose ball for a goal, slotting her shot under a diving Meaghan Cahill (Crofton, Md./Arundel), tying the game just 13:56 into play.
The green and white regained their balance and pushed the action towards their offensive end. That push resulted in the game winning goal when Jill Stanley (Stewartstown, Pa./Kennard-Dale) gained control of the ball down the right sideline. She dribbled the ball down the field before crossing a beautiful ball into the box. Senior Emily Sullivan (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding) was running on goal but let the ball pass to Mergler who one-timed the shot into the goal for the 2-1 lead. Mergler’s goal came in the 17th minute and would prove to be the last goal of the match.
The Spartans continued to dictate play the rest of the half as they allowed just two Stockton shots in the frame while York managed nine shots in the half.
The second half was much of the same with York holding control of the play through the first 30 minutes of the half. With the Spartans wearing down in the late stages, Stockton continued to push forward in the York defensive half. The Spartan defense led by Kali Macgregor (Rockville, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross), Caitlin Allen (Langhorne, Pa./Council Rock), Jackie Moser (Baltimore, Md./Sparrows Point), and Ally Wivell (Emmitsburg, Md./Catoctin) didn’t break and the green and white held on for the win.
The tournament victory is just the second win for a York College women’s athletic team in NCAA play.
Cahill earned the win as she recorded a pair of saves for the green and white. Rogers took the hard luck loss as she had four saves.
The Spartans outshot the Osprey 16-5 for the game while Richard Stockton edged the Spartans 4-3 in corner kicks.
Spartan head coach Vicki Sterner was proud of her team’s effort.
“We worked very hard today and played great,” said Sterner. “Our effort today, like it has been all season, was outstanding. This is certainly a great win for our program and I am happy for our girls.”
The Spartans return to action on Sunday when they play in the tournament’s second round. Game time is set for 2:00 pm in Pomona, NJ.