[NCAA DIVISION III WOMEN] Wheaton (Ill.) completed a perfect season with a 1-0 win over Messiah Saturday to clinch its second straight NCAA Division III women's championship.
The Thunder, which beat Western Connecticut State, 3-0, in the semifinals, finished with a 27-0-0 record and extended its winning streak to 45 games -- the second
longest in Division III history.
Jami Hermann scored the final's only goal in the 43rd minute. Messiah had defeated the College of New
Jersey, 2-0, in Friday's other semifinal.
Wheaton became the third team in Division III history to win at least three titles. TCNJ won championships in 1993, 1994 and 2000, and UC
San Diego won a Division III-best five titles (1989, 1995-97 and 1999). Wheaton's first NCAA Division III title came in 2004.
The Thunder finished the 2007 season with a scoring margin of
105-13. Taryne Lee led Wheaton with 27 goals, and Sarah Richardson was second with 19 goals.
Kristin Eggert, Wheaton, Ill.
Kacie Klynstra, Messiah
Bethany Barton, Wheaton, Ill.
Kelly Foltz, Wheaton, Ill.
Kari Klynstra, Wheaton, Ill. (Offensive MVP)
Molly Desjarlais, Western Connecticut
Cassie Barbaresi, Western Connecticut
Dana DiBruno, College of New Jersey
Rachel Horning, Messiah
Briann McDonough, College of New Jersey
the first undefeated season in school history with a 1-0 win over Messiah College (23-1) to clinch their third NCAA III Women's Soccer National Championship in four years.
Messiah got the
first scoring chance of the match midway through the second minute with a corner kick from the right corner by Avie Fitzgerald, but was unable to muster a shot off the initial ball into the area.
Wheaton then went on a 26-minute run of chances, during which the Falcons could not put together an attempt on goal.
Libby Passiales had perhaps the best scoring chance for either side in
the first 20 minutes when she hit a blast just high of the crossbar in the 20th minute for Wheaton's fourth shot of the match. Messiah's best chance of the half came in the 32nd minute when
substitute Erin Hench got a pass in the middle of the penalty area, but could not put enough pace on the shot to get it past Wheaton's keeper.
The first goal of the match came off the
foot of Wheaton's
when she took possession of a loose ball in the Messiah penalty area, and bent it under the keeper's dive into the lower left side of net. The goal marks
Hermann's sixth of the season, and gave the Thunder a slim 1-0 advantage with a little over two minutes remaining in the first half.
Messiah responded with renewed determination,
finishing the half with two quality chances by Amy Horst and Amanda Naeher in the closing seconds of the half.
The second half began in much the same way as the first, with both sides
unable to take advantage of multiple chances. Wheaton came out of the break determined to add to its one goal advantage, forcing Messiah's keeper to make two tough saves in the first 10 minutes of
the period. The Falcons countered back with three quality chances of their own in the next five minutes off the feet of Rowe and Emily Cope.
Messiah dictated play in the final 10 minutes
of the match, but could not find the back of the net for the equalizer. The Falcons' best chance to get back on terms in the match came late in the 88 th minute when Cope hit a blast to the bottom
right corner that Wheaton's Kristin Eggert stopped with a diving save.
"Three national championships is something to be proud of," said Richardson. "All of our freshmen stepped up big,
and each brought something unique to the table to help us get to this point."
Wheaton caps its historic season with its 17th shutout of the season against a relentless Falcon attack that
provided steady work for the Thunder back line throughout the 90 minutes of play. Messiah finishes 2007 with its only loss of the season in its fourth consecutive trip to the final four that
includes a national championship win in 2005.
"Our kids will look back on this as something to be proud of," said Wheaton Coach Pete Felske. "To win two national championships in a row is
tough, but to do so undefeated when teams are gunning for you is something special."