NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament - York Sectional Preview
The York College has been selected as the host institution for one of the four NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament Sectional brackets to be held this weekend, November 17 and 18. The Sweet 16 and Elite 8 matches will determine one of the four entrants into the 2007 NCAA Division III Final Four at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. York’s “pod” consists of the Spartans, Messiah College, Wittenberg University, and Ithaca College.
On Saturday, November 17, Messiah and York will square off at 11:00 am on York’s Graham Field, while Wittenberg and Ithaca are scheduled to begin at approximately 1:30 pm. The winners of the two Sweet 16 matches will move on to play Sunday at 1:00 pm for the right to advance to the Final Four.
After winning the Capital Athletic Conference championship for the first time in program history, the Spartans have found themselves in the Sweet 16 round in just their first NCAA tournament. Last weekend, the green and white upset host Richard Stockton 2-1, backing up that performance with a 1-0 win over Virginia Wesleyan. Against Stockton, freshman Steph Mergler had a hand in both scores, tallying an assist to Erin Kuhn then recording the game-winner after a pass from Jill Stanley. On Sunday the Spartans faced Virginia Wesleyan, a team they had lost to 3-1 back on September 9. The Spartans would have the upper hand this day, as Jill Stanley registered the lone goal of the match to catapult the underdog Spartans into the Sweet 16.
Kuhn, a first team All-CAC forward, has paced the Spartan offense as she has tallied a team-leading 28 points on ten goals and eight assists. Stanley is currently second on the squad with 20 points registering eight goals and four assists, while senior Emily Sullivan has scored six times and distributed seven assists for 19 points.
Messiah comes to York as the #2-ranked squad in the country, according to d3kicks.com, and carry a flawless 20-0 record. After receiving a first round bye, the Falcons ousted Westminster 3-0 in the NCAA second round. Stef Rowe scored in the seventh minute while Erin Hench and Jen Michener secured the Messiah victory with a pair of second half tallies.
The Falcon offense has been very impressive this season scoring 79 goals good for a 4.03 per game average. Rowe has had a stellar senior campaign, leading her squad with 39 points on 18 goals and three assists. Hench and Amanda Naeher have both registered double-digits in goals with 14 and 10 respectively.
Messiah’s defensive unit is equally sensational only allowing opponents to score five times over 20 matches for an incredible 0.25 goals against average. Goalkeeper Brindley Beckwith has a solid .872 save percentage as Messiah has shut out 16 opponents.
Wittenberg, the pod’s second seed, travels from Springfield, Ohio sporting an 18-2-3 mark. The Tigers dismantled Penn St.-Behrend 4-0 in their first round match before defeating Calvin on penalty-kicks after drawing 0-0 through regulation and both overtime periods. Wittenberg netminder Meghan O'Rourke stopped three penalty-kicks in the shootout after blanking Calvin through 110 minutes.
It has been the Tiger’s defensive unit that has led them all season. Only allowing seven goals during the year, Wittenberg has registered 18 shutouts in 23 matches for a fantastic 0.23 goals against average.
Offensively, the Tigers spread out their attack as eleven players have scored two or more goals. Amanda Farrell leads her squad with 16 points on six goals and four assists. Suzanne Medwid is second on the team with 15 points on five goals and four assists while Lisa Rusch has chipped in eight points tallying three goals and two assists.
Ithaca makes the nearly five-hour journey to York after defeating Bowdoin and Wheaton (Mass.) last weekend in the opening rounds of the NCAA tournament. In their 2-0 blanking of Bowdoin, the Bombers (18-3) received scores from sophomore Winnie Adrien and junior Chelsey Feldman. Ithaca then slipped past a tough Wheaton squad who had not lost all season up to that point. An Amy Scheffer goal in the 41st minute vaulted the Bombers into the Sweet 16.
Feldman, who has amassed a school record 18 goals, paces the Ithaca attack with 40 points on the year. Adrien has contributed 13 goals and two assists ranking her second on the squad. Scheffer and Colleen Masterson have identical statistics as each has tallied 22 points on seven goals and eight assists. Goalkeeper Aimee Meacham has played 1651:57 of Ithaca’s 1,800 minutes this season posting eight shutouts along the way.
All four squads received an automatic berth into the 2007 NCAA tournament as each won their respective conference championship.
Tickets for the tournament are $6.00 for general admission, $3.00 for senior citizens and students, $2.00 for students age three to 12 while children under two are free. Tickets will be sold at the gate only. There will be no presale for the tournament. The first 200 York College students who present their YCP student ID at the gate receive free admission courtesy of York College.