Nov. 22, 2008

Courtesy of Eastern Athletics

GRANTHAM, Pa. - Eastern University Women's Soccer won their 12th straight game and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 with a 1-0 win over the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point on a frosty afternoon at Messiah College. Jill DiRenzo scored the game-winner in the seventh minute, and the Eastern defense made the goal stand against the high-powered Pointer attack.

Stevens Point boasted a pair of front-runners ranked in the top ten in scorning in all of Division III. With 96 goals on the year, the Wisconsin side had outscored their last two opponents 8-0 to advance to the Sweet 16. The Eastern defense entered today having allowed just a three goals in its last 11 games. Something was going to have to give. On this day, it was not the Eastern back line.

Heading into a stiff wind, Eastern scored the only goal of the match on a great run forward from senior Nicole Grindle. The speedy attacker earned the edge on the right side and after pulling the last defender and goalkeeper to the near post flighted a perfect cross to the back post. DiRenzo met the ball with a powerful header for her 12th goal of the year. The tally gives the junior forward 100 points for her career. She becomes just the fourth Eastern player to reach that milestone.

The Pointers turned to their powerful tandem of forwards and began to pressure the Eastern goal. Amanda Daveler turned away Kaylee Weise on a ball slotted in behind the Eastern backs. Later in the half, Corie Brant stood her ground on a corner kick and cleared a ball off the back post to preserve the lead.

The Eagles managed a 7-5 edge in first half shots. The Pointers were able to put each of their shots on frame, but Daveler was equal to the task on every opportunity.

With the temperature dropping and the wind picking up the Eagles shifted into a defensive mindset for the second half. Both teams took five shots in the second half, but Daveler did not have to make a save as the senior managed her box well behind her experienced back line.

Eastern University Head Coach Dan Mouw said of the day, "Our seniors played very effectively today. I would have liked to have seen a couple of our chances in the second half go in, but we are thrilled to be moving forward. Their players up front were very good, but on this day our backs stepped up and made plays. Corie's play on the back post was huge."

On Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm, the Eagles return to action against host Messiah College for a chance to advance to the Final Four. The Falcons advanced to tomorrow's Sectional Championship Game with a 4-1 in over the University of Chicago.

Box Score