W-LEAGUE: Charlotte halts Hampton Roads' repeat hopes

Defending W-League champion Hampton Roads Piranhas were upset Wednesday night in their playoff opener, falling to the visiting Charlotte Lady Eagles, 2-0, in the Atlantic Division final at Virginia Wesleyan University.

Charlotte (12-2-1) beat Hampton Roads (12-2-1) for the second time in four meetings this season to advance to Sunday's Central Conference championship against the Chicago Cobras (13-0-1) in Mooseheart, Ill. The winner of that clash will head to the W-League final four Aug. 7-8 in Ottawa.

The Long Island Lady Riders (12-3-0) and Montreal Xtreme (12-3-0) also won playoff games on Wednesday to reach the Eastern Conference final four this weekend in West Windsor, N.J.

Nigerian national-teamer Nkiru Okosieme and Miami (Ohio) University senior Ashley Swinehart scored goals for Charlotte, with Dutch national team captain Annamieke Griffioen and former University of North Carolina standout Tina Murphy earning assists.

Okosieme tallied in the 19th minute, and Swinehart scored in the 63rd.

Hampton Roads went unbeaten last year en route to its first W-League championship, and it scored 2-0 victories at home in its first two meeting this season with Charlotte. The Lady Eagles won, 2-1, in a home game on July 9 as Okosieme set up goals one minute apart.

Chicago edged the Fort Wayne Fever, 3-2, Wednesday night at Mooseheart Stadium as University of Connecticut All-American Kristen Graczyk scored goals in the 21st and 41st minutes -- her 15th and 16th of the season -- from assists by Arizona State's Elizabeth Bogus on the first and former Atlanta Beat defender Julie Augustyniak on the second.

Katy Lindenmuth, from the University of Wisconsin, tallied in the 67th minute to restore a two-goal lead after Notre Dame recruit Amanda Cinalli put Fort Wayne (10-3-1) on the board just before halftime. Notre Dame's Mary Boland converted a penalty kick for the Fever in the 85th minute.

Montreal scored a 3-0 triumph over the Rochester Ravens in the North Central Division final at Catalogna Soccerplexe in Lachine, Quebec, as Canadian national-teamer Isabelle Morneau and Erin Holland each contributed a goal and an assist. Maria LaPalme also scored, and Canadian national-teamer Sharolta Nonen -- formerly with the Atlanta Beat -- had an assist.

Long Island won the Northeast Division final with a 1-0 overtime victory over the New Jersey Lady Stallions (10-5-0) at Stony Brook University. Melissa Shulman, from Boston University, headed home a cross from Mississippi State's Allison Mullen in the 104th minute, and 16-year-old goalkeeper Kristen Farriella made seven saves for the shutout.

The Lady Riders will meet Montreal in an Eastern Conference semifinal at Mercer County Community College; top-seeded New Jersey Wildcats (14-0-0) will face the Boston Renegades (11-4-0) in the other semifinal.

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