GENEVA, N.Y. -- William Smith scored in the 36th minute to defeat TCNJ 1-0 in an NCAA Division III championship sectional semifinal match on Saturday. Junior Madeline Buckley scored the lone goal for the Herons.
William Smith will advance to a sectional final where it will take on the winner of the other NCAA tournament sectional semifinal being played on Cozzens Field between Messiah and Ithaca. The sectional championship will be played at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
With their 20th consecutive victory and their 13th shutout in a row, the Herons improve to 20-1-0. William Smith has earned a total of 18 shutouts this season. The 20 wins by the Herons tie the William Smith record for wins in a season.
TCNJ finished its season with an 18-3-2 overall record.
The Herons broke through at 35:03 in the first half. Junior MaryClaire Pelletier pushed a pass ahead to Buckley who drilled a hard shot on goal. The Lions goalie, Kendra Griffith had the ball for a moment, but couldn't keep it and it fell over the goal line to give the Herons a 1-0 lead. It was Buckley's ninth goal this season.
TCNJ earned a corner kick with 1:40 left in the first half, but the Lions attempt was immediately stifled as senior goalie Chelsea Dunay punched the ball away. TCNJ had one of its best scoring chances with 10 minutes left in the second half. Katie Lindacher sent a shot on goal from the right side, but Dunay stepped up to make the save. Dunay finished with three saves to earn her 15th shutout this year. She is 20-1-0 in goal this year. With the win, Dunay tied the William Smith record for wins in a season.
The Herons avenged their only loss of the season, which came at the hands of TCNJ back in their season opener back on Aug. 30.
William Smith finished with a 15-8 advantage in total shots and a 5-3 lead in corners. Griffith finished with four saves in goal for the Lions.