Nov. 21, 2008

Courtesy of West Chester

West Chester, Pa. – The No. 17 Mercyhurst women’s soccer team received a goal from Karla Vogt and used solid defense and goalkeeping to defeat host No. 14 West Chester 1-0 Friday at Farrell Stadium. The Lakers advance to the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Quarterfinal round Sunday at noon against the winner of Friday’s match between Bridgeport (18-4-1) and St. Rose (18-3-2).
 
Mercyhurst (15-4-4), the No. 2 seed in the region, won its fifth consecutive postseason match, beating No. 1 seed West Chester (14-3-5) for the second time in 14 days. The Lakers downed the Golden Rams 2-1 in the PSAC semifinal Nov. 7. Mercyhurst won the season series 2-1, as West Chester took the first meeting 3-2 Oct. 4 at home.
 
Friday’s match was contested on West Chester’s football field, on FieldTurf, as overnight snow accumulation caused their natural grass soccer pitch to be unplayable. In addition, the match kicked off at 1:32 p.m. instead of the scheduled 11 a.m. game time, giving crews time to remove snow from the playing surface.
 
Mercyhurst controlled play in the first half, generating several quality scoring chances. Jamie Schroter rang a corner kick off the crossbar at the 27:05 mark, as the Mercyhurst players attempted several high shots against keeper Hilary Smart.
 
Immediately following a substitution in the 36th minute, a Laker throw-in led to a Mercyhurst goal. Christine Rehnert came away with the ball in the midfield and found Vogt, who struck a floating shot from 20 yards out that settled in the upper right corner of the net, eluding Smart for Vogt’s third goal of the season and a 1-0 Mercyhurst lead.
 
The Lakers held the Golden Rams to two shots in the first half while attempting five of their own.
 
West Chester came out with intensity early the second half, getting a glorious scoring opportunity in the 51st minute. Brittany Yetter took a shot from in tight that Laker keeper Rebecca Heintzman parried away. The rebound caromed to Laura Bodenstab, whose shot clanged off the right post and away from danger. Heintzman made another save on Jenna Arnold in the 60th minute.
 
Mercyhurst then attempted four unanswered shots, carrying the play during the middle portion of the second half. Sarah Powell’s shot in the 66th minute nearly cleared the keeper, but was punched into the bar.
 
The Golden Rams saw one more chance go by the boards in the 76th minute, as Sarah Oswald took a shot from the right side that Heintman saved, with the rebound trickling across the goalmouth to Jenna Arnold, who stared at an empty cage. Arnold’s shot went just wide, and the Lakers stifled West Chester for the last 10 minutes of the match, using end-of-game tactics to frustrate any momentum the Golden Rams tried to build.
 
When the buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read: Mercyhurst 1, West Chester 0. The Lakers celebrated their first NCAA Atlantic Region title, and first trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in Keith Cammidge’s seven-season tenure. This is their third straight NCAA tournament appearance.
 
West Chester attempted 10 corner kicks to Mercyhurst’s three, and the Lakers held a slight 9-8 edge in shots.
 
Mercyhurst’s defenders proved steady, and midfielders and forwards chipped in on defense against the Golden Rams. Heintzman played a terrific match, stopping all five shots that came her way and disrupting several corner kicks.
 
Vogt’s goal was her second game-winner this postseason, as she also scored the game-winning marker in the Lakers’ 5-2 win over Slippery Rock in the PSAC Quarterfinals Nov. 4.
 
Rehnert recorded her third assist of the 2008 postseason, and seventh on the season, Friday. She also assisted on Powell’s first goal in the PSAC Quarterfinal against Slippery Rock, and on Powell’s first tally against IUP in the PSAC Championship game Nov. 8. She has one career NCAA tournament goal, as she scored the Lakers’ lone goal in their 1-1 draw against Grand Valley State in the round of 32 on Nov.11, 2007.
 
Heintzman recorded her second shutout in a row, fourth of 2008 and 20th for her career. The shutout was her third in NCAA tournament play, as she recorded a shutout against Quincy Nov. 9, 2007 in the first round, and shut out Slippery Rock in the second round Sunday.
 
Mercyhurst matched its win total from a season ago with its 15th triumph. The 2008 club is 15-4-4, while they finished 15-4-3 in 2007.
 
The Lakers will wait on the result of St. Rose vs. Bridgeport to find out their opponent for Sunday’s quarterfinal matchup. The winner of Sunday’s match earns a trip to Tampa, Fla. to compete in the NCAA final four.