San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 20, 2016 – Senior Megan Nicklay scored the game-winning goal and anchored the back line to its 10th-straight shutout as the No. 8-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's soccer team recorded a 1-0 win at No. 2 and previously unbeaten Trinity University (Texas) Sunday in the Sectional Championship in San Antonio.
The game was scoreless until the 68th minute when Nicklay headed home a corner kick from senior Lexie Sprague for the game-winner. The goal for Nicklay was her second of the season and third of her career.
"It was surreal. Lexie put in a great ball and I was just there. I don't even have words," said Nicklay.
WashU improved to 17-2-3 with the victory, while Trinity had its season end with a 23-1 mark.
The Bears are making their second-consecutive NCAA Semifinal appearance, and fourth in school history. WashU takes on No. 23 Brandeis University in the semifinals Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Kerr Stadium in Salem, Va. The Bears defeated Brandeis 2-0 on Oct. 16 in St. Louis.
No. 6 Messiah College and No. 11 University of Chicago play in the first semifinal Saturday at 5 p.m. Three of the four teams in the NCAA semifinals are members of the University Athletic Association (UAA).
"The back line has been fantastic all season in front of Lizzy," said head coach Jim Conlon, who picked up his 150th career. "Lexie coming off the bleachers and jumped down and took the corner kick and found Megan's head, and she buried it. It was a gorgeous looking play."
WashU came out with high pressure in the opening five minutes of play, but it was Trinity that recorded the first four shots of the contest. A shot by Trinity's Yasmeen Farra was stopped by senior goalkeeper Lizzy Crist to keep it tied.
Crist nearly scored the first goal of her career in the 16th minute when her free kick from 40 yards out was punched over the goal by Trinity GK Janie Thompson.
Conlon got some fresh legs on the field for the final 15 minutes of the first half, and junior Rachel Mickelson nearly broke the tie with a shot from just outside the 18 that was stopped by Thompson. Crist then came up big again in the 43rd minute when she made a diving save off a free kick from Julia Kelly.
Trinity outshot WashU 7-4 in the opening half.
Junior Jessica Kovach had the first chance for either team to start the second half, but her shot from just outside the 18 went wide right. Freshman Taylor Cohen had a chance in the 54th minute with a shot that went wide.
Trinity outshot WashU 13-11 and the Bears had a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks. Crist made four saves in the win.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU leads the all-time series 3-1 and the teams met for the first time since 1995 … The Bears are 31-13-8 record in 16 all-time NCAA appearances … The shutout for Crist was her 13th of the season, a WashU single-season record … WashU also advanced to the Final Four in 1997, 2009 and 2015 … The Bears are 5-0-1 against ranked teams this year … WashU's senior class has a 70-10-7 (.845) record … The shutout for WashU was its 18th of the season, extending its single-season school record.