Millersville ends West Chester's national title run at two with 1-0 win
MILLERSVILLE, Pa. -- Sarah Bomberger's goal in the 24th minute was all the Marauders needed to defeat West Chester 1-0 in Saturday's NCAA tournament quarterfinal hosted at Chryst Field at Biemesderfer Stadium.
The Marauders improved to 19-2 on the season, 9-0 at home, and extended its shutout streak on its home turf to 477 minutes -- a span of six games. Millersville entered the 2013 season 0-8 all-time against West Chester but won all four meetings this season including two in the past week. The Marauders, the No. 2 seed in the South Region, now advance to play top-seeded Shippensburg in the NCAA semifinals in Virginia Beach, Va. on Nov. 23.
"I am so proud of our kids; to come back out and play with such gutsy effort and resilience against an incredible West Chester team," Millersville head coach Shelly Behrens said. "They make us better, and congratulations to them for an outstanding season. For us to win a fourth time [against them] is unfathomable to me."
Marauder goalkeeper Lauren Sotzin recorded her 11th shutout of the season and third consecutive in the postseason with three saves. The Marauders withstood the Golden Rams early push and a final blitz that ended with the potential game-tying shot blocked in front of the cage with 17 seconds to go.
"They were after us right out of the gate," Behrens said. "We handled that barrage for a bit and that gave us confidence being under pressure, being under fire and being resilient with that."
Bomberger scored the game-winning goal against West Chester one week ago in the PSAC semifinals, and she struck again for the Marauders, giving her two goals, two assists and at least one point in three of the four games against the Golden Rams this season.
West Chester had already recorded six penalty corners and five shots by the time Bomberger's opportunity came. Millersville drew a penalty corner just past the 26-minute mark. Bomberger entered the ball to Rachel Dickinson at the top of the circle, and a step outside, Dickinson cranked a shot toward the left post. Bomberger stood unchecked on the edge of the goal and redirected the shot into the goal for her eighth tally of the season.
"I pushed the ball up to Rachel at the top, she hit it and I tipped it in," Bomberger said. "We just love using our corners to score, and we just executed today."
West Chester's last ditch effort came during the final 10 minutes when it totaled five penalty corners and four shots. West Chester saw two chances in the 60th minute get denied, and the final shot at the 69:43 mark was blocked by a Marauder defender. Millersville cleared ball, preventing West Chester from attempting another shot.
"I thought the last seven, five minutes we weren't taking anything for granted," Behrens said. "They were going to keep coming after us. Their goalkeeper did a good job as well, but we were able to get one in and make the most of opportunities."
West Chester held a 12-7 edge in shots and a 11-6 advantage in penalty corners. West Chester keeper Audree Bonavita made four saves.
Millersville returns to the National Training Center for the second time this season as it played regular-season games against Limestone and Newberry there in October. It is Millersville's first appearance in the NCAA Division II semifinals but it did reach the championship game as a member of Division III in 1986. The trip to the semis is especially sweet for Behrens, who won a national championship as a goalkeeper with Old Dominion.