No. 1 WashU Drops Heartbreaker in NCAA Semifinals

Photo by Roger Mastroianni
Photo by Roger Mastroianni

PRESS CONFERENCEHIGHLIGHTSPHOTOS

Greensboro, N.C. Nov. 30, 2018 – The No. 1-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's soccer team had its record-breaking season come to an end with a 1-0 loss to No. 3 Middlebury College Friday in the 2018 NCAA Division III Semifinals at UNCG Stadium in Greensboro, N.C.

Middlebury improved to 19-1-4 with the win and extended its unbeaten streak to seven games, while WashU fell to 21-1. The 21 wins for WashU was a single-season school record.

WashU outshot Middlebury 12-3, and the Bears' allowed just one shot on goal. The Bears also had the 4-1 advantage in corner kicks.

"I love this group of women and it was a pleasure to coach this team," said WashU head coach Jim Conlon, who coached his 400th game as a collegiate women's coach. "We want to credit Middlebury who had a fantastic game plan and played hard and we wish them the best of luck moving forward."

WashU had the 4-1 shot advantage in the opening half and only placed one shot on goal. Senior Maggie Crist sent a header wide in the sixth minute, and then senior Jessica Kovach sent a shot in the 24th minute that took a bad bounce and was corralled by Middlebury goalkeeper Ursula Alwang.

Middlebury's lone shot of the half came in the 41st minute but Eliza Robinson's shot was blocked. The Bears had two corner kicks in the opening 45 minutes.

The Panthers lone shot on goal came in the 48th minute after Simone Ameer received a pass and quickly volleyed a shot from inside the box off the far post and into the back of the net. The goal for Ameer was her fourth of the season.

Trailing for the first time this season, WashU pressed and totaled eight shots in the second half. Crist nearly tied with a header off a corner kick in the 82nd minute but Alwang came up with a diving save. She finished with three saves.

Sophomore goalkeeper Emma Greenfield (21-1) suffered her first loss of the season and set the single-season school record for wins and goals against average (0.28), and tied the mark of shutouts (13).

The loss marked the final game for the eight WashU seniors: Crist, Darcy Cunningham, Caroline DempseyAudrey Freeman, Kovach, Hannah MenardJessica Ridderhoff and Isabelle Tamburro.

The Class of 2018 helped lead the Bears to a 77-8-5 (.883) overall record with four University Athletic Association (UAA) titles, three Final Fours and the 2016 NCAA Division III National Championship.

"The wins, the UAA titles, the Final Fours, the numbers, it does not compare to the growth of these women. And the friendships that I have made by getting to know them off the field," said Conlon. "I am ecstatic with the results and I hope they are pleased with the accomplishments. This is a great group of young women and they are the reason you coach."

BEAR NOTEBOOK: The teams met for the first time in school history … The Bears were making their third NCAA Semifinal appearance in the last four years, and fifth in school history … WashU allowed six goals in 22 games, the lowest single-season total in school history … The Bears were shutout for the first time in 28 games dating back to last season.