With the lights on and fans in the stands, the Loras College Duhawks opened up the 2012 NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Tournament Friday night against the St. Scholastica Saints, winners of the automatic qualifier from the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. Loras, who earned their bid by winning the Iowa Conference tournament, was ready to write the next chapter in Loras soccer history, beginning once again in the Rock Bowl.
The Duhawks have grown accustomed to teams playing with a defensive approach, and so when the Saints - who tallied 90 goals so far in 2012 - came out firing from the opening whistle, it was clear both teams were prepared to test each other's back line and team defense.
The teams traded runs and scoring opportunities, but after 45 minutes, the match was scoreless. Early in the second half, junior Sarah Trump was forced out of the match with a lower body injury, moving junior Lynn DeVriese to fill the marking back void. DeVriese, now a junior and Loras' leading scorer, played most of her sophomore year as a marking back on the Duhawk roster.
In the 65th minute, sophomore Kristina Everding fought her way to a corner kick. Senior Hillary Wilson lofted the ball to the back post, and in the process found freshman Katie Truesdale who headed it in. Just five minutes later, in the 71st minute, junior Jaclyn Tumberger sprinted her way to a long through ball near line, and with a hard cross, was able to force the St. Scholastica defender to take an awkward touch, sending the ball past goalkeeper Kelsey Reeves.
Loras would hold tight for the remaining 19 minutes, earning the win and the shutout and thus moving on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
For the Knights, they played the 22nd-ranked Spartans tough for 90 minutes, with both teams trading scoring opportunities. Aurora had their best chance of the night in the 82nd minute when Raquel Rodriguez found herself alone inside the six, but had her shot stopped by Ashton Hearn before hitting the crossbar and going out for a corner kick.
Following 90 minutes of play, the teams prepped for overtime, but once the whistle sounded, it took just 19 seconds before the match was over.
From the restart, Calvin played it forward into Aurora territory. Without hesitating, sophomore Paige Capel charged forward and as a result, intercepted the ball. With the Aurora keeper charging off her line, Capel tucked her shot underneath her and watched it roll into the back of the net. With the win, Calvin advances to the second round and will face Loras. That match will kickoff at 5:00pm in the Rock Bowl on Saturday.