College Women: Christian Brothers, UC San Diego win D2 semifinals
Christian Brothers lost Missy Gregg but not its No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown with five-time champion Franklin Pierce and advanced Friday to the NCAA Division II women's soccer final.
Final-four host UC San Diego also reached Sunday's title game, pulling out a tight win against Northern Kentucky in a rematch of last season's final.
Margaret Saurin had a first-half hat trick and Gregg returned from a first-half injury to score her 73rd goal of the season as second-ranked Christian Brothers (22-0) pummeled top-ranked Franklin Pierce (22-1) in the opener at Triton Soccer Stadium in La Jolla.
Saurin's goals gave her 26 this season, and Anita Rask -- returning from an ankle sprain that sidelined her for three NCAA matches -- picked up her 26th assist on Gregg's 50th-minute tally.
Gregg, who set NCAA scoring records after transferring in August from Division I Dayton, left the match early in the first half with a first-degree sprain to her left ankle.
Defending champion UC San Diego (20-2) scored all its goals on headers, then held off a furious late assault by Northern Kentucky (22-2) to claim a 3-2 victory in the nightcap.
Erika Alfredson headed home Christine Wensel corner kicks in the 28th and 41st minutes to give the Tritons 1-0 and 2-1 leads, and Laura Dooly's header from an Amy Goker cross made it 3-1 with a half-hour to go.
Northern Kentucky rallied with a Bessie Black goal in the 75th minute and nearly tied it three minutes later. Stephanie Sandfoss, who netted the Norse's first goal 25 seconds after Alfredson's first, hit the crossbar with a header, and her rebound was stopped by UCSD goalkeeper Kami Poma.
Neither of the finalists has ever lost a Division II playoff game. UCSD is 7-0 after stepping up from Division III last season. This is Christian Brothers' first NCAA appearance; it is 3-0.
NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIPS
at La Jolla, Calif.
Christian Brothers, Tenn. 4 Franklin Pierce, N.H 1. Goals: Saurin 15, Saurin (Mulligan) 40, Saurin pen. 41, Gregg (Rask) 50; Keldar 56.
UC San Diego 3 Northern Kentucky 2. Goals: Alfredson (Wensel) 28, Alfredson (Wensel) 41, Dooly (Goker) 61; Sandfoss 28, Black (Ruark) 75.
Christian Brothers (22-0) at UC San Diego (20-2), 1 p.m.
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