Salem, Va., Dec. 2, 2016 – Senior Katie Chandler scored a pair of goals to lead No. 8-ranked Washington University in St. Louis to a 2-1 win over No. 23 Brandeis University Friday in the 2016 NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Semifinal Friday at Kerr Stadium in Salem, Va.
WashU improved to 18-2-3 with the victory, while Brandeis ended its season with a 16-4-4 mark. The 18 wins are tied for the third most in school history.
WashU takes on No. 6 Messiah College (22-2) in the national championship game Saturday at 5:30 p.m. (ET). WashU and Messiah met in the NCAA Division III semifinal a year ago – a 3-2 shootout victory by the Bears.
"To do this for the second year in a row is truly special and an honor. I am proud of our women for the way we fought," said head coach Jim Conlon who coached his 199th game at WashU. "We stuck to our game plan and got that second goal and kept Brandeis out of the net for the second half."
WashU struck first on its opening scoring opportunity in the sixth minute after Chandler scored on a breakaway on an assist from freshman Taylor Cohen to make it 1-0.
Brandeis answered in the 22nd minute after a miscommunication in the box and Haliana Burhans was left wide open inside the six for the goal. The goal allowed by WashU was its first since October 8, a span of over 10 games.
Senior goalkeeper Lizzy Crist faced four shots in the opening half making two saves. Brandeis had a 4-3 shot advantage, and the Bears were called for 11 fouls.
Chandler found the net early in the second half in the 49th minute to give WashU the 2-1 lead after the Bears scored off a corner kick. Sophomore Jessica Kovach sent the corner into the box, that Brandeis tried to clear out and went off the chest of junior Mia Mastroianni.
The deflection went right to Chandler, who fired a shot from inside the box that went off the hand of Brandeis goalkeeper Alexi Grossman into the back of the net. The goal for Chandler was her team-leading 12th of the season and 37th of her career.
"When its tied 1-1, a corner kick is a big opportunity," said Mastroianni. "Jessica Kovach played a great ball into the box and it got deflected a little bit. I knew if I kept it in there that we would have an opportunity."
Crist made one save in the second half in the 71st minute on a shot by Samantha Schwartz just outside the 18. She finished the game with three saves.
"I am definitely very excited to get back to the national championship," said Crist. "We did not try and have that as a focus this year. We took each game one by one."
WashU outshot Brandeis 11-7, including 8-3 in the second half. Each team had three corner kicks and the Bears were called for 12 fouls.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU leads the all-time series with Brandeis 20-7-3 … The Bears are 32-13-8 record in 16 all-time NCAA appearances … WashU is in the national championship game for the second-straight season and for the third time in school history (2009, 2015, 2016) … The Bears are 6-0-1 against ranked teams this year … WashU's senior class has a 71-10-7 record … The Bears have a 28-1-2 record when Chandler scores in her career … The game-winning goal for Chandler was the 16th of her career, tied for second most in school history ... There will be a campus-wide watch party in the Danforth University Center (DUC) Fun Room for the national championship.