November 4, 2009

Spartan Season Concludes with CAC Semifinal Loss

OWINGS MILLS, MD – The York College women’s soccer squad saw their stellar 2009 season come to a close as the second-seeded Stevenson University Mustangs handed the third-seeded Spartans a 3-2 setback in the semifinal round of the 2009 Capital Athletic Conference Tournament.

The Spartans end the season with a mark of 14-5-1 while the Mustangs advance to the championship match with a record of 14-3-1. The Mustangs now host the fourth-seeded Mary Washington Eagles who defeated top-seeded Salisbury in penalty kicks in the other semifinal. The championship game will be Saturday afternoon in Owings Mills, Md.

The game started off with a bang for the Spartans as junior captain Steph Mergler (Street, Md./North Harford) drilled home a 35-yard bomb into the top shelf just 3:25 into the contest, giving York the very early lead. The goal was Mergler’s eight of the season.

The Mustangs’ super sophomore Stephanie Eyler notched the equalizing goal just over 18 minutes later as she collected a loose ball in the box, turned and uncorked a low boring shot into the netting , tying the game at one in the 22nd minute.

The hosts received a second Eyler tally right before the break as she ripped a grounder past a sprawling Sarah Spanarkel (Toms River, N.J./Toms River North) for the 2-1 lead in the 42nd minute.

The Mustangs outshot the Spartans 8-5 in the opening half while York held the 3-0 margin in corner kicks.

The second half saw the two teams battle back and forth with neither team holding a significant advantage for very long. The Mustangs got the eventual game-winning goal off the foot of Samantha Novy as she banged home the goal off a Katie Decker assist with exactly 20 minutes remaining in regulation.

Much like the entire match, the Spartans showed fight over the final 20 minutes of the match as they cut their deficit to one on a Kaitlyn Harney (Stewartstown, Pa./York Catholic) header off an Ally Wivell (Emmitsburg, Md./Catoctin) direct kick with 15:35 remaining in the game.

The Spartans had a golden chance with just over seven minutes left in the game as Caitlin Aversa (Severna Park, Md./Archbishop Spalding) collected a loose ball deep in the box. Aversa blasted a shot that carried over the Stevenson goal as the Spartans just could not get the elusive third goal.

The Mustangs successfully killed off the final five minutes of the game, as Aversa’s shot was the last one of the contest for York.

Stevenson finished the game holding a 15-9 edge in shots including a 9-6 margin in shots on target. The Spartans held a slight 4-3 edge in corner kicks for the match.

Spanarkel absorbed the loss as she notched six saves in her 90 minutes of work. Stevenson’s Lauren Weitzman recorded four saves in the win.

The loss closes out the brilliant careers of seniors Lauren Stewart (West River, Md./Southern), Jackie Moser (Baltimore, Md./Sparrows Point), Harney, Meghan Rowland (Glen Burnie, Md./Archbishop Spalding), and Kat Torode (Brick, N.J./Brick Township) as the five member senior class combined to post a four-year record of 54-22-8 including a stellar 23-6-1 mark in the Capital Athletic Conference. The class owns two CAC regular season championships (one outright and one co-championship), a CAC tournament championship, an NCAA Tournament berth and one NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.

The Spartans are slated to return eight starters next year and a large number of key reserves as the Green and White will look to continue to be one of the top programs in the region.

MATCH BOX

Photo: Steph Mergler launches the ball towards the goal in scoring the game's opening goal (By Scott Guise)