St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 21, 2015 – Sophomore Megan Renken broke a scoreless tie with a goal in the 86th minute to lead the No. 4-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's soccer team to a 1-0 win over No. 22 Wartburg College in the Sectional Semifinal of the 2015 NCAA Division III Championship Saturday afternoon in St. Louis.
WashU improved its record to 19-2 with the victory, the second-highest single-season win total in school history. Wartburg ended its season with a 15-5-3 mark.
Renken's goal, her third of the season, came off a pass off the head of junior Katie Chandler and beat Wartburg goalkeeper Beth Crow with a shot for the game-winner.
"We had a lot of chances in the first half," Renken said. "I missed the first couple, but the girls kept me on my feet and eventually I was able to get one into the net."
Junior goalkeeper Lizzy Crist (17-2) made three saves and preserved the Bears' 15th shutout of the season, second most in school history in a single season. WashU outshot Wartburg 27-8, and had a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks.
Despite the 30 mile per hour wind in Wartburg's favor in the opening half, WashU recorded the first eight shots in of the game. The Bears had an 11-4 advantage in shots in the first half, putting five on goal.
With the wind at its back, WashU took advantage in the second half. Renken had a breakaway in the 58th minute and her shot just went wide of the near post. Just three minutes later, Crow made a diving save on a shot by Chandler.
In the 69th minute, sophomore Mia Mastroianni was left open in the box and her shot went over the crossbar. Senior Olivia Lillegraven nearly broke the tie in the 85th minute but her shot from 40 yards out went off the crossbar. Just 47 seconds later, Crow made another diving save off a shot from Chandler.
"Our girls kept the ball out of the net in the first half to give us a chance in the second half," said WashU head coach Jim Conlon. "We kept our composure, stuck with our game plan, and got the result we wanted."
WashU advances to the Sectional championship for the fourth time in the last five seasons and the eighth time in school history. The Bears take on the winner of No. 7-ranked Illinois Wesleyan University and No. 23 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Sunday, Nov. 22, at 1 p.m. The winner of Sunday's sectional championship game advances to the NCAA Division III Semifinals Friday-Saturday, Dec. 4-5, in Kansas City, Mo.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU has won all five meetings between the two teams, outscoring Wartburg 14-2 … The Bears have a 27-12-6 (.667) overall record in 15 NCAA Tournament appearances … The shutout for Crist was her 10th of the season, tied for second most in a single season … The Bears have allowed one goal in the last 12 games … WashU is 10-0 at home this season … The goal for Renken was the fourth of her career.