Graham
WC

WHEATON, Ill. -- Crisp passing and dominant ball possession by Wheaton (Ill.) resulted in a 5-0 victory against Penn State-Behrend in the NCAA tournament on Friday.

The No. 6-ranked Thunder ran its record to 19-1-2 and will host the NCAA second round game on Saturday. The Lions finish their season with a record of 13-7-2.

The game action started slowly on the cold, breezy evening as both teams felt each other out. Wheaton worked methodically and patiently from the back to try to set up the offense.

It was 24:19 into the game when the hosts broke onto the scoreboard. Senior sweeper Kaitlyn Le Baudour dribbled the ball aggressively up through the defense into the box, where she passed off to junior midfielder Keri Shannon. Shannon then sent a left-footed blast inside the left post to give Wheaton the 1-0 lead.

Wheaton possessed the ball all evening, winning balls in the air at midfield and pressing up to the forwards with quick one-touch passes. The night’s second goal came at 37:07 in the opening half when Shannon distributed to an open Jaime Orewiler, who struck from 14 yards out. It marked Orewiler’s 11th goal of the season.

Following the halftime break, the Thunder continued to aggressively make runs at the goal. Lead passes into space helped the hosts dissect the defense and created scoring opportunities from distance.

Wheaton increased its lead by scoring three goals during a five-and-a-half minute span midway through the second half. Shannon tallied her team-best 12th goal of the season from 10 yards out at the 64:08 mark off a double assist from Orewiler and freshman Marlee Disher.

Just 80 seconds later, freshman Sarah Guidera headed in her eighth goal of the year to the upper left corner. Orewiler set up the play with a pass to junior defender Erin Strom, who sent in a cross from 30 yards straight to Guidera’s head to tally the double assist.

Wheaton’s Val Lelle wrapped up the scoring at 69:42. The junior midfielder absorbed a tackle and simultaneously cranked a shot to the opposite corner that found the netting from 25 yards out.

Penn State-Behrend earned its best scoring chance of the night in the 68th minute when a foul in the box gave Valerie Wagner a penalty kick opportunity. But her shot was saved by Wheaton goalkeeper Kelsey Graham.

The Thunder finished the game with a 28-2 shot advantage in the game, including an 11-0 edge in corner kicks. Graham made one save to get the shutout in net. Robin Siegenthaler collected 10 saves while allowing five goals to take the loss.