Nov. 22, 2008

Courtesy of Wheaton

Wheaton, Ill. – The Wheaton College women’s soccer team will be returning to the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Final Four. The Thunder secured its spot among the final four women’s soccer teams playing in Division III with a 2-1 victory against Carleton College (18-6-0) on Saturday night in a Sectional Final at Wheaton’s Joe Bean Stadium.

Wheaton (21-3-2) will face the winner of a Sunday Sectional Final between Williams College and Lynchburg College in a National Semifinal on December 5 in Greensboro, North Carolina. This year’s trip is Wheaton’s fifth Final Four appearance, with National Championships in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

Wheaton attached the Knights throughout the first half, with an 8-2 edge in shots for the hosts. Wheaton’s first goal was a penalty kick that was put into the net by All-American Taryne Lee  39:28 into the match. Wheaton was awarded the penalty kick when Thunder freshman MacKenzie Williams was fouled in the goalie box by a Carleton player. Wheaton maintained its 1-0 lead into the halftime intermission.

Freshman Ali Kopelman scored a key goal off of a Lee assist at 52:16 to put the Thunder up 2-0. Carleton cut the Thunder lead to 2-1 with a Sophie Wood goal at 87:48 and the Knights attempted to cut through Wheaton defense as the match came to a close, however, Wheaton held off the Carleton attack to earn the win.

Head coach Pete Felske said of tonight’s match, “In the first half I didn’t think we played our best soccer, but our effort was good. We told our team at halftime that eventually our attack would wear on Carleton and I think that is what happened – I think we just wore them down in the second half.” Felske added of taking his team back to the Final Four, “I think that because of the success we have had in the last few years people may think that we are the team to beat. However, we are going in beat-up and tired and only half of our squad has been there before, the other half has not.”

Wheaton out-shot Carleton 15-10 on the in the match, with an 11-4 advantage in corner kicks. Wheaton goalkeeper Ingrid Erickson made one save and allowed one goal for the Thunder. Carleton goalkeeper Kate Trenerry made four saves and allowed two goals for the Knights.