Dec. 4, 2009

D-III Notebook: Winter Waltzing In San Anton'

By Gaylon Krizak
Special to NCAA.com

Skip to Washington-St. Louis-Lynchburg Recap

SAN ANTONIO – A match filled with near-misses was decided by a goal that was supposed to be a pass.

Joanna Haqq scored on a right-to-left cross with 24:24 left in regulation, leading defending champion Messiah to a 1-0 victory over The College of New Jersey in Friday’s first semifinal match at the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championships.

Messiah (24-0-1) will face Washington University in St. Louis (17-3-3), a shootout winner over Lynchburg in the second semifinal, at 1 p.m. Saturday in the championship match at Blossom Soccer Stadium.

After a flurry of strong scoring attempts by the Falcons, Haqq gained possession of the ball to the right of TCNJ’s goal. She sent the ball across the goal mouth, where it eluded the outstretched arms of Lions goalie Jessica Clarke and crossed the goal line.

“It was intended to be a pass, yes,” Haqq said. “A goal’s a goal, I guess. The wind helped us there.

“I think we knew we were playing well. We had things together. It was just a matter of finishing in the final third and being a little bit more tough in the final third. We knew that if we could do that, then we would have the game under our belt. We could finish strong.”

The goal was the first allowed by the Lions (20-3-1) in 816 minutes 59 seconds, and was Haqq’s 10th of the season.

 “I thought both teams played very, very well,” TCNJ coach Joe Russo said. “We had a couple of very good chances and kind of got away from how we like to play, but that’s a credit to Messiah.”

Messiah had the best scoring chance in a scoreless first half, about 29 minutes into the match.

Erin Hinch, who kept the pressure on TCNJ’s defense throughout the match, got the ball to Amanda Naeher on a give-and-go pass at the top of the box. Naeher dribbled briefly and had a point-blank shot, but Clarke made an outstanding save.

“I thought we played a little rushed (in the first half), and so we ended up forcing some things up front, turning balls over when we had somebody through we could have connected with if we’d slowed it down  a little bit,” Messiah coach Scott Frey said. “That’s hard to do because they’re so athletic and fast. They’re good. They are a very good team.”

Messiah’s victory was its fourth in five postseason matches against TCNJ in the last six years.

Washington-St. Louis 1, Lynchburg 1 (4-3 PK)

Carter Schwarberg was in the redemption business Friday.

In a match that was tied only because Washington allowed an own goal in the 50th minute, Schwarberg’s frustration, already inflamed when she was kicked in the face, heightened when she received a yellow card in the 72nd minute.

“It takes some poise to be able to calm yourself down from being so hyped up, so excited for the game,” said Schwarberg, whose goal in the sixth round of the penalty-kick shootout put the Bears in the D-III women’s final for the first time. “This was definitely for my team. I wanted to make sure that we went to the next round. The feeling is indescribable.”

Of course, winning in extra time is nothing new to Washington, which has gone to OT or a shootout in four of its five NCAA tournament matches. So coach Jim Conlon wasn’t exactly overwhelmed by the tension.

“I wouldn’t have anyone else step up and take it in that position,” Conlon said.

Washington reserve midfielder Julie Tembunkiart scored from close in at the 43:12 mark for the match’s first goal.

Five minutes into the second half, Lynchburg forward Betsy Kwiatkowski , who kept the pressure on the Bears by putting three shots off the crossbar, sent a pass to Melissa Martin, whose point-blank shot was deflected over the net by Washington goalie Clara Jaques.

That set up Ashley Hoath’s corner kick in front of the goal. Amid the confusion, the ball went off a Washington player’s hand and into the net.

That also was where Lynchburg’s luck in its first semifinal appearance ended. The Bears dominated the two overtime periods but were unable to score. The Hornets (17-3-5) took the early lead in the shootout but missed their final two attempts before Schwarberg’s game-winner.

“We ran out of gas, no question,” Lynchburg coach Todd Olsen said. “And that’s unusual for us. We’re a very fit team, and I think the nerves and the travel and just the whole process wore on them. We just don’t do that.”