ST. LOUIS – Senior back Nicole Martin scored a pair of goals, including the game-winning penalty kick in the 71st minute, to lead Washington (Mo.) to a 2-1 victory against Concordia-Moorhead in the NCAA semifinals on Friday.
“We just kept our cool and we knew that our system worked. We kept trying to get behind the ball and their top shooters,” Martin said. “My role is to be at the top of the box for something just like that to happen. Doyle put in a great ball and our team was able to put it in the box and it came out. It was just right in front of me and I headed it and it went in.”
Washington (19-1-1), which picked up its school-record 19th win of the season, hosts Wheaton (Ill.) on Saturday in a quarterfinal match. The Thunder posted a 4-0 win against Washington U. on Sept. 15, handing the Bears their only loss of the 2012 season. Wheaton also ended the Bears’ season in 2011 with a 4-2 victory in the quarterfinals.
Wheaton (20-3-2) rallied for a 2-1 overtime victory against previously unbeaten Hardin-Simmons in the opening match on Friday. The Thunder tied the contest with 19 seconds remaining on a goal by Kristin Rauh, and then Ally Witt dropped in the game-winner just 34 seconds into overtime.
Concordia-Moorhead (17-4-1) wasted no time taking the lead as Sarah Rounds drilled a left-footed shot from 20 yards out to the near corner that senior goalkeeper Clara Jaques couldn’t save. The goal for Rounds was her team-leading 14th of the season.
Washington scored the equalizer in the 36th minute after the Bears took advantage of a foul in the corner. Junior midfielder Kate Doyle sent the cross into the box that was punched out by Concordia goalkeeper Ali Nelson. Martin picked up the rebound and headed the ball over Nelson’s head into an open goal. Washington had an 8-6 advantage in shots in the first half.
Concordia nearly regained the lead at the 50:16 mark after Jaques stopped a header by Gina Weiss on a diving save. The game remained a tie until the 71st minute, when junior Becky Berels was taken down in the box resulting in the penalty kick.
“We were able to clamp down on defense and improve as the minutes rolled on. I think we were going to make adjustments regardless at halftime, but when you can go into halftime equalized instead of down one, it changes things,” head coach Jim Conlon said. “I don’t think it changed our intensity or our desire at all, and then we just needed to make a couple fine tune adjustments and away we go.”
Washington had a 24-9 advantage in shots for the game, including a 16-3 mark in the second half. Concordia took the only corner kick in the contest in the first half. Jaques made three saves in the win and picked up her single-season school record 19th win of the season. Nelson recorded 12 saves in the loss for Concordia-Moorhead.