Nov. 19, 2010

Courtesy of Fort Lewis Athletics

Hayley Hollenga scored a goal and added an assist and Christine Schmelzle made five saves as No. 3 Fort Lewis (18-2-2) came from behind to defeat No. 14 Winona State (17-4-2) in the NCAA Division II Central Regional championship and advance to the NCAA Elite Eight.

The Skyhawks will face the winner of todays Midwest Region championship match. That game features thee No. 5 Grand Valley State Lakers (18-1-2) and the No. 15 Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers (16-2-2) and began at 11:30 a.m. (MST) today in Allendale. The Elite Eight contest will be played at 11 a.m. (MST) Sunday at the GVSU Soccer Fields.

Schmelzle made the save of the match in the 24th minute when she made a kick save on a blast by Winona States Katy Soliday. The shot was the best scoring chance of the first half for either team and preserved a 0-0 tie that the teams took into intermission.

With strong winds at their back in the first frame, the Warriors began the second half charging into the breeze. They wasted little time getting on the board first, scoring just 35 seconds into the second stanza. Melissa Sellier and Sarah Colleran played the ball down the left side of the field, where Jordyn Strege collected the ball and feathered a shot over Schmelzles head for her first goal of the season.

From that point forward, the Skyhawks settled and dominated play. Nichole Schumacher had a shot that was stopped by Warrior goalkeeper Anna Belpedio in the 50th minute. Two minutes later, Hollenga was stopped by the first team All-Central region netminder.

As shots and corner kicks mounted for FLC, Hollenga took charge. Taking a pass from Erika Shisler down the right flank, Hollenga worked the ball toward the end line, weaving in and out of two Warrior defenders. She settled near the line a good six yards wide of the goal, turned, and struck a shot toward the far post that slipped just under the cross bar and into the side netting for the equalizer 14:08 into the second half. The unassisted goal was Hollengas team-leading 13th of the season.

Just 14 minutes later, Hollenga assisted on the game-winner by sending a cross from the right side into the box that Emma Cannis buried into the back of the net for her seventh marker of the season.

From that point on, it was a shooting gallery for the Skyhawks, who launched 19 shots at Belpedio during the game. Belpedio made 11 saves during the match, including a spectacular one off a Sara Egbom shot that she tipped over the crossbar midway through the second half.

Fort Lewis outshot Winona State 19-7 overall, 13-6 in shots on frame.

The winner of Sundays game advances to the NCAA Division II Final Four, to be held in Louisville, Ky., from Dec. 2-4, 2010.