Nov. 21, 2008

Courtesy Wheaton Athletics

WHEATON, Ill. - The Wheaton College women's soccer team has extended its defense of its 2007 NCAA Division III Championship as the Thunder defeated Washington University (Mo.) 3-0 on Friday night at Wheaton's Joe Bean Stadium in a Sectional Semifinal of the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Tournament. With the victory in cold conditions, Wheaton (20-3-2) has advanced to Sectional Championship Match on Saturday at 6 PM and will face the winner of Friday's other Sectional Semifinal between Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Carleton College. Washington ends its season with a 15-4-2 record.

The two teams battled through a scoreless first half. Wheaton took a 1-0 lead at 53:38 when All-American Taryne Lee passed the ball to senior co-captain Kari Klynstra who scored on a one-timer. Wheaton held its 1-0 advantage for approximately 25 minutes, until senior Erin Hodina converted a Lee assist into her second goal of the year for a 2-0 Thunder advantage at 79:03. Freshman Ali Kopelman scored on a Lauren Moser assist at 89:20 to give Wheaton the 3-0 advantage that would become the final score.

Wheaton out-shot the Bears 22-7, with a 14-4 advantage in the decisive second half and the hosts held a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks. Wheaton goalkeeper Ingrid Erickson made two saves in posting her fourth shutout of the year.

Wheaton head coach Pete Felske said of his team's performance, "I feel good about the energy that we had tonight. Hopefully we can sustain it tomorrow." He added, "Our offensive pressure wears people down over time and it allows us to get more and more space as time goes on. I thought our ability to take players one-on-one was very good tonight." Felske concluded, "I think that we are beginning to play better than we had been playing. We are playing hard, we are challenging everything and our players up front are continually attacking. If we continue to play like that tomorrow I am confident."