KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Lynchburg advanced to its first national championship game after defeating Illinois Wesleyan 2-1 in Friday's semifinal.
Lynchburg found itself in an unfamiliar position early in the match as Illinois Wesleyan took the opening kick and drove down the pitch. Jenna Baker ripped a shot that was saved by Tess Frelick, but the ball deflected out to the side. Skyler Tomko corralled the ball and finished it for the 1-0 lead 19 seconds into the match.
The Hornets responded, not allowing the Titans to take another shot in the final 44:41 of the first half. LC, on the other hand, got four shots in the half, one of which tied the contest.
Lynchburg had the ball in the Illinois Wesleyan side of the field for a lot of the first half when a pair of fifth-year seniors that returned for another run at a championship evened the game at one."There was a lot of soccer to play after the first goal since it came early," head coach Dr. Todd Olsen said. "We look at a lot of different players and sometimes it is the ones that have been around the longest that do it."
Jenn Snyder sent the ball across in towards the goalie who could not bring in the ball. Bosco got it just outside the box and ripped a shot that cleared the keeper to get Lynchburg on the board.
"It was really awesome to score the goal," Bosco said. "I was working so hard to come back from the injury and it was great to have the opportunity to help the team."
Lynchburg had several more opportunities as Samantha Bagherpour and Snyder both had shots on goal that were saved by Dana Jourdan.
Lynchburg came out of the halftime break with all of the momentum after a strong end to the first half. 2:40 into the second half, Dessi Dupuy found Kelley Smith for her seventh score of the season and the 2-1 lead.
Lynchburg had another opportunity when the keeper left the box, but Dupuy's shot slammed against the post to give a break to the Titans.
Illinois Wesleyan had a similar opportunity off a corner kick with 27 minutes left in the game as Baker played the corner short for the Titans. Tomko got the ball in a crowded box and took a shot that was saved away by defender Emily Maxwell.
The Titans got another opportunity with 24 minutes remaining as Brie Siebert broke away from the Lynchburg defense and launched a shot into the top right corner of the goal. Frelick sprawled through the air to her left and saved the shot to keep Lynchburg with the advantage.
"I was going to come out of the net but saw Gabbiy [Soares] come over so I stayed back," Frelick said. "I wasn't sure where I was, but once it was deflected I just dove and then tried to hold onto it because the ball was wet."
The Hornets allowed just one shot the rest of the way, and an Illinois Wesleyan attempt sailed high over the goal with 6:26 to play in the national semifinal.
Lynchburg had several chances for an insurance tally with less than five minutes remaining, as a shot by Morgan Singer was saved and a shot by Smith just missed bending into the top right corner.
The other opportunity came off the corner kick as Smith sent the ball into Sarah Schrader, whose header when just over the crossbar of the goal.
Lynchburg (26-0-1) will face the winner of Williams and Johns Hopkins in Saturday's national championship at 6:30 p.m. ET.