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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | December 13, 2019

2019 DII women's soccer championship: Live updates, scores and bracket

2019 Championship: DII Women's Soccer Semifinal Recap

The 2019 DII women's soccer championship will come down to a rematch of the 2016 game. Grand Valley State defeated Saint Rose 3-2 and Western Washington took down Flagler 2-0 to advance to the championship at noon ET on Saturday, Dec. 14 from Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2019 TOURNAMENT: Interactive bracket | Printable bracket | Selection show

Both winning teams performed as you would expect. Grand Valley State's DII-best offense was in top form putting 32 shots in the air, while Western Washington's top defense held Flagler's high-scoring offense off the scoreboard. 

Here's what to know about each team as well as a round-by-round recap of the 2019 DII women's soccer championship.

The DII women's soccer championship: Finals preview

Grand Valley State
The Lakers are the benchmark of DII women's soccer. Grand Valley State entered the season having appeared in eight of the last ten national championships, winning five. Now they head to No. 1 since 2009.

This year, the Lakers defense was on top of its game in record-setting fashion. That stingy defense went 9-0 in GLIAC play and didn't allow a single goal in conference play, the first team in conference history to do so. Jessica Radice has been remarkable in net and Cec Steinwascher is tough on defense.

Offensively, well, take your pick. You either need to try and shut down Ava Cook who led DII in goals or shut down the D2CCA player of the year Riko Sagara. And that's the trouble with GVSU, there's just so many athletic weapons, that if you do shut down Cook and Sagara, there's someone else lurking in the wings.

Western Washington
If there is a defense in DII women's soccer capable of thwarting that Grand Valley State offense, it is the Vikings. After all, they've done it before, winning the 2016 national championship over the Lakers 3-2.

Natalie Dierickx had a big game in the semifinals with some key saves in delivering the Vikings 18th shutout of the season, setting a program record. On the year, she has a 0.35 goals against average with 13 shutouts of her own. 

The Vikings use a full arsenal on offense, which makes it hard to key in on one player. While they don't have a scorer close to Cook's numbers, six Vikings — Grace Eversaul, Karli White, Liv Larson, Zoe Milburn, Estera Levinte, and Jenna Killman — have scored at least five goals. White had a big semifinal match, assisting on the Vikings first goal and putting some insurance on the board with a late goal in the 40th minute. 

Emily Nelson, Peyton Chick, Jordyn Bartelson, Lindsey Fujiwara and Larson were all around as true freshmen in 2016. This has to be the dream matchup for these five to close their collegiate careers with, as they hope to walk away the same way they did in 2016.

The DII women's soccer championship: GVSU, WWU advance to finals

GAME 2 FINAL: No. 3 Western Washington 2, No. 2 Flagler 0
 

Western Washington came out and set the tone early, when Karli White found Grace Eversaul eight minutes in for what amounted to stand as the game-winning goal. The top defensive team in DII women's soccer posted another shutout and will head to their second title match since 2016.

Flagler was held in check in the first half but had its opportunities in the second 45. The Vikings defense was able to turn the Saints away and keep the goals off the scoreboard. 

6:35 | Second half | Western Washington 2, Flagler 0

The Vikings  Jordyn Bartelson finds Karli White streaking and sets her up beautifully for some big insurance for Western Washington. White has an assist and goal and part of both goals for the Vikings. Crunch tome for Flagler.

10:00| Second half | Western Washington 1, Flagler 0
Still in a defensive stalemate here at Highmark Stadium. Flagler has had chances, as has Western Washington, but neither team can find the back of the net. The Saints have 10 minutes left to try and tie this thing up and have the ball on the Vikings side of the field.

26:00| Second half | Western Washington 1, Flagler 0
Flagler has been much more aggressive in this second half but the Vikings defense is finding ways to hold the Saints off. Natalie Dierickx had a nice save and the defense has been able to clear the ball. The Saints Sara Sandberg has yet to get a good shot on goal.

45:00| Second half | Western Washington 1, Flagler 0
We're back in action. Flagler needs to find some offense in this half. Let's see what the Saints have in store.

End of the first half | Western Washington 1, Flagler 0
Western Washington scores early when Karli White found Grace Eversaul for a pretty goal atop the key. That's where the scoring ended as Western Washington's defense showed its toughness, shutting out the Saints for the first 45. Here's some stats to know:

  • Western Washington: 7 shots; 4 SOG
  • Flagler: 3 shots, 2 SOG
  • Corners: Western Washington has the edge 7-3

We'll be back with the second half in 15 minutes, so don't go too far.

5:00| First half | Western Washington 1, Flagler 0
The Vikings still hold a 1-0 lead keeping the ball on the Flagler side of the field more times than not. They were able to thwart a well-played corner kick by Flagler as well. Perhaps the Western Washington tournament experience has given them the early advantage. Did you know:

  • The Vikings have the third most semifinal appearances (behind Grand Valley State and Saint Rose) this decade with four.
  • Western Washington also has the third-highest winning percentage this decade at .849 (178-25-16 overall).

20:00| First half | Western Washington 1, Flagler 0
It's been scoreless since the Vikings first goal, but Western Washington is dominating time of possession. The Vikings just had back-to-back corner kicks and a barely missed opportunity to put one on net. It's been a pretty impressive attack for a team known for its defense.

36:21First half | Western Washington 1, Flagler 0
Western Washington has been putting pressure on the Flagler end of the field and it pays off early. Karli White finds Grace Eversaul to put the Vikings up 1-0. It looked like this:

First half | Flagler 0, Western Washington 0
STARTING LINEUPS:

WWU women's soccer starting lineup.
Flagler women's soccer starting lineup.

45:00 | First half | Flagler 0, Western Washington 0

 
Wayne Cavadi Flagler and WWU at the DII women's soccer championship.

Welcome back to Highmark Stadium. Flagler and Western Washington are set to battle for the final spot in the championship match across from Grand Valley State. Here's what we're watching:

No. 2 Flagler vs. No. 3 Western Washington, 2 p.m. ET

  • Flagler enters the semifinals as the last remaining DII women's soccer team without a loss in 2019. The Saints have done so with a potent offensive attack, getting to the semis with little difficulty and outscoring their opponents 17-3 over that run. Sara Sandberg heads the charge, scoring 25 goals this season, but also adding 11 assists.
  • The Saints' opponent is Western Washington. The Vikings are no stranger to the spotlight, winners of the 2016 national championship. Western Washington is fueled by the best defense in DII, allowing just a .330 goals-against average and have allowed more than one goal just once all season. That's not to say the Vikings can't score but they lead a more balanced attack with six players having five or more goals on the season.

GAME 1 FINAL: No. 1 Grand Valley State 3, No. 4 Saint Rose 2

The Lakers are back in the championship match for the second-straight year. The Lakers offense was on the attack all day, firing 32 shots, 15 of which were on goal. Saint Rose's Marika Laurendeau was able to stop an impressive 12 of them, but Ava Cook, Chantel Carranza and Riko Sagara put three in net, with Sagara's being the eventual game-winner. Saint Rose was able to get on the board twice, but fell just short in the third semifinals meeting between the two since 2009. Grand Valley State has now won all three. 

Who will they face? We'll be back at 2 p.m. ET with live updates from the Flagler and Western Washington showdown so stay tuned.

5:00 | Second half | Grand Valley State 3, Saint Rose 2
Just five minutes remain. The Lakers are doing their best form of keep away from Saint Rose trying to hold on to that one goal lead. We're heading down the home stretch.

15:00 | Second half | Grand Valley State 3, Saint Rose 2
After the two exploded for exciting goals in a five-minute span, Grand Valley State slowed things down with short and mid-range accurate passes. Saint Rose's Morgan Burchhardt beats two Grand Valley defenders to the loose ball and breaks away, getting it past Radice to get the Golden Knights back within one. Fifteen to go in Pittsburgh.

29:37 | Second half | Grand Valley State 3, Saint Rose 1
What a goal by the Lakers to get back two a two-goal advantage. Catie Baron puts a beautiful cross on the net and Riko Sagara is there to sneak it past Laurendeau. See for yourself:

34:26 | Second half | Grand Valley State 2, Saint Rose 1
The Golden Knights are on the board. Saint Rose's leader in assists Nina Predanic gets one more as she gets it in to a streaking Kaelyn Britt who gets it past GVSU's Jessica Radice. It was a quick goal as Saint Rose has still struggled to establish any sort of long possession. But we now have a ballgame once again!

45:00 | Second half | Grand Valley State 2, Saint Rose 0
The Golden Knights start on the attack to open the second half. They get an early corner kick, but can't convert. The final 45 are underway from Pittsburgh.

End of first half | Grand Valley State 2, Saint Rose 0
Forty-five minutes are in the books in Pittsburgh and it has been all Grand Valley State. The Lakers have put up an unreal 26 shots, 11 of which have been on net, which is a credit to Saint Rose's keeper Marika Laurendeau who already has nine saves. Ava Cook and Chantel Carranza have the goals for Grand Valley State. For Cook, it was her 29th and DII-best goal of the season. 

2:07 | First half | Grand Valley State 2, Saint Rose 0
The Lakers attack pays off again. After several shots on goal — and a nice save from Laurendeau — Chantel Carranza puts it in the net. The Lakers are up 2-0 as the half winds down.

23:09 | First half | Grand Valley State 1, Saint Rose 0
Grand Valley State's offensive attack is absolutely relentless. This is my first time getting to see Ava Cook in person and not on a stream. It's easy to see how she leads DII with 28 goals. Not only is she super quick, she's athletic and in complete control. Now she has 29 goals — this one unassisted — on some fancy footwork and the first goal of the semifinals. 

37:38 | First half | Grand Valley State 0, Saint Rose 0
The Lakers put some intense pressure on the Golden Knights keeper Marika Laurendeau but Saint Rose escapes. The Lakers just missed hitting the post and had an open rebound but Sydney O'Donnell sends it high over the net. Laurendeau has been busy, already with three saves.

45:00 | First half | Grand Valley State 0, Saint Rose 0
We're off and Grand Valley State takes the opening possession. Both teams have gone back and forth as the Lakers and Golden Knights start to settle in.

Pregame | 10:35 a.m. ET
Welcome to Highmark Stadium in chilly Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It's warmed up since last night and is sunny and finally hitting the 40s. Grand Valley State and Saint Rose are getting warmed up now.

So, what are we watching?

No. 1 Grand Valley State vs. No. 4 Saint Rose, 11 a.m. ET

  • There's no surprise here. Grand Valley State returns to the semifinals once again, one year removed from falling short in the championship match in this very same Highmark Stadium. It's more of the same offensively for the Lakers, who led DII in scoring with a 4.71 goals-per-game average. Ava Cook led the way with a DII-best 28 goals. But don't sleep on that defense. This team ran off 13-straight shutouts, including all nine in conference play for the second-best goals-against average in DII.
  • The Lakers' opponent is Saint Rose, which makes for a good match for the fans. These two know each other well, with the Saints defeating Grand Valley State for the 2011 championship as well as two other semifinal matchups won by the Lakers in 2009 and 2014. The Golden Knights have a balanced attack, scoring 2.83 goals per game, but limiting their opponents to just 0.88 goals against. Nina Predanic leads the way with 20 goals and 16 assists.

SIBLING RIVALRY: For the Steinwascher siblings, the NCAA DII soccer tournament is a family affair

No. 2 Flagler vs. No. 3 Western Washington, 2 p.m. ET

  • Flagler enters the semifinals as the last remaining DII women's soccer team without a loss in 2019. The Saints have done so with a potent offensive attack, getting to the semis with little difficulty and outscoring their opponents 17-3 over that run. Sara Sandberg heads the charge, scoring 25 goals this season, but also adding 11 assists.
  • The Saints' opponent is Western Washington. The Vikings are no stranger to the spotlight, winners of the 2016 national championship. Western Washington is fueled by the best defense in DII, allowing just a .330 goals-against average and have allowed more than one goal just once all season. That's not to say the Vikings can't score but they lead a more balanced attack with six players having five or more goals on the season.

So, how did we get here? Here's everything you need to know about the tournament so far.

DII women's soccer quarterfinals: Quarterfinals recap

The last three teams punched their tickets to the semifinals Sunday. Here's how:

  • No. 1 Saint Rose 2, No. 1 Bloomsburg 1: Two No. 1 seeds battled for a spot in the semifinals to start the day. Goals from Olivia Boucher and Morgan Burchhardt proved to be enough for the Golden Knights. 
  • No. 1 Flagler 4, No. 5 Nova Southeastern 0:  Flagler has one of the best goal scorers in DII in Sara Sandberg, but it was four different players — Lorena Lopez, Annie Habeeb, Hannah Dolores and Mujica Casotrino — who helped Flagler move on to the next round.
  • No. 1 Grand Valley State 5, No. 1 Minnesota State 2: Grand Valley State avenged its lone loss of the season to Minnesota State earlier this year in dominating fashion. Ava Cook helped build a 3-0 lead for the Lakers in the first half and finished the day with a hat trick. The Lakers were in the finals last year and look like contenders for another chance at the trophy.

Saturday, Dec. 7

No. 3 Western Washington 3, No. 5 Dixie State 0: Western Washington earned a spot in the semifinals by shutting out Dixie State on Saturday. The Vikings got three goals from three different players — Dayana Diaz, Liv Larson, and Grace Eversaul — to advance. The remaining three spots will be claimed on Sunday. 

DII women's soccer championship: What happened in the third round

  • Grand Valley State won in dominating fashion, setting its single-season scoring record in a 9-0 victory over Indianapolis. Minnesota State closed the third round with a shutout of its own, eliminating Central Missouri 3-0. That sets up a Sunday match between the Lakers and the Mavericks. For those that don't recall, Minnesota State is responsible for Grand Valley State's lone loss in 2019.
  • Nova Southeastern is a national quarterfinalist. The Sharks will have to pull off some more magic in facing No. 1 Flagler on Sunday. Sara Sandberg — the PBC player of the year — scored her 24th and 25th goal of the season in Flagler's 8-2 victory over Wingate.
  • Bloomsburg and Saint Rose were the other two No. 1 seeds to advance, each pulling out a one-goal victory. That gives us a second No. 1 vs. No. 1 this Sunday. 

Here is Friday's scoreboard, as well as this weekend's quarterfinal matchups:

Friday, Dec. 6 (all times ET)

DII women’s soccer championship: What you missed in the third round

Dixie State continues to shock the DII women's soccer world. One round after ousting the No. 1 team in the country from the DII tournament, the Trailblazers took down No. 2-seeded DBU 2-1. In the nightcap, No. 3 Western Washington got a first-half goal from Emily Nelson that proved to be the game-winner. The Vikings ousted Point Loma from the tournament one round after the Sea Lions upset the West's top-seeded UC San Diego Tritons. 

Here are Thursday's scores: 

Thursday, Dec. 5 (all times Eastern)

DII women’s soccer championship: Second round recap

Sunday

  • Nova Southeastern and Dixie State are the big stories from Sunday's second-round play. The Sharks made program history on Friday, defeating Montevallo for their first win in NCAA tournament history. Well, now they can make it two. Not only did Nova Southeastern beat top-seeded Mississippi College, it did it 5-1. Emma Heikkila had a big day with two goals. 
  • Dixie State continued its impressive run to the third round. The Trailblazers upset Texas Woman's in the first round and then bounced No. 1-seed UC-Colorado Springs, which was also the No. 1 team in DII women's soccer. It was like deja vu all over again as Whitley Johns and Jill Bennett got the scoring started and set the tone for the Dixie State upset.
  • Wingate keeps moving on as well. The Bulldogs entered as the No. 7 seed and took down rival Lenoir-Rhyne — the two-seed — in the first round before taking down No. 3 North Georgia. They have yet to allow a goal. Next up, No. 1 Flagler.
  • And don't forget about Embry-Riddle. The Eagles have now upset No. 3 Rollins and No. 2 Lee on their way to the third round. We'll have an intriguing match between two teams that seemingly refuse to lose in Nova Southeastern and Embry-Riddle. 
  • Here is the full slate for Sunday. 

Sunday, Nov. 24

Saturday

  • Indianapolis and Findlay battled to a 1-0 decision with the Greyhounds advancing to the third round. It was a victory of historic proportions for UIndy: it was the Greyhounds 10th shutout of the season, tied for most in program history. Keeper Sophia Saucerman becomes the first goalie to register two shutouts in the tournament. 
  • Point Loma pulled off a big upset, taking down No. 1-seeded UC San Diego 1-0. The Sea Lions had never shutout an opponent in the NCAA tournament and did so against the top-seeded Tritons. 
  • Dallas Baptist remained unbeaten, improving to 17-0-3 on the season. The Orediggers and Patriots went to penalty kicks, where DBU prevailed 5-4. 
  • West Chester and Slippery Rock battled in a conference showdown that saw a lot of firepower early on. The Golden Rams jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but Slippery Rock came storming back to tie it. West Chester overpowered Slippery Rock in the second round to advance. 

Saturday, Nov. 23

2019 DII women's soccer championship: Schedule and scores

Two rounds are in the books. The third round and quarterfinals will be played the weekend of Dec. 5-8. We'll update times and dates as we get them, so be sure to check back daily. Here's a look back at the first round.

DII NEWS: Top women's soccer stories | Follow the DII hub | Sign up for the DII newsletter

FIRST ROUND

Thursday, Nov. 21 (all times Eastern)

Friday, Nov. 22 results

2019 DII women's soccer bracket

Tap or click here for a full-size, printable view of the bracket.

History of the DII women's soccer championship

Bridgeport won its first title in program history in 2018, defeating Grand Valley State. While the Purple Knights won't have a chance to defend their crown, the Lakers are back in the hunt again. Grand Valley State will be looking to make history with its sixth national championship, and first since the Lakers won three in a row from 2013-15.

STREAKING: Here's how Grand Valley State posted 13-straight shutouts

Here's a complete look at the history of the DII women's soccer championship match. 

YEAR CHAMPION COACH SCORE RUNNER-UP SITE
2018 Bridgeport (20-4-1) Magnus Nilerud 1-0 Grand Valley St. Pittsburgh, Pa.
2017 Central Missouri (26-0-0) Lewis Theobald 1-1 (5-3 PKs) Carson-Newman Kansas City, Mo.
2016 Western Washington (23-0-1) Travis Connell 3-2 Grand Valley State Kansas City, Mo.
2015 Grand Valley State (23-1-1) Jeff Hosler 2-0 Columbus State Pensacola, Fla.
2014 Grand Valley State (22-2-2) Jeff Hosler 3-0 Rollins Louisville, Ky.
2013 Grand Valley State (24-0-1) Dave Dilanni 2-0 West Florida Evans, Ga.
2012 West Florida (24-1-0) Joe Bartlinski 1-0 UC San Diego Evans, Ga.
2011 Saint Rose (24-1-1) Laurie Darling Gutheil 2-1 Grand Valley State Pensacola, Fla.
2010 Grand Valley State (22-1-2) Dave Dilanni 4-0 UC San Diego Louisville, Ky.
2009 Grand Valley State (22-0-4) Dave Dilanni 1-0 Cal State Dominguez Hills Tampa
2008 Seattle Pacific (22-1-2) Chuck Sekyra 1-0 (2OT) West Florida Tampa
2007 *Tampa (20-2-3) Gerry Lucey 0-0 (2OT, PK) Franklin Pierce Orange Beach, Ala.
2006 Metro State (24-2) Danny Sanchez 1-0 (OT) Grand Valley State Pensacola, Fla.
2005 Nebraska-Omaha (20-2) Don Klosterman 2-1 (OT) Seattle Pacific Wichita Falls, Texas
2004 Metro State (25-1) Danny Sanchez 3-2 Adelphi Wichita Falls, Texas
2003 Kennesaw State (25-1) Rob King 2-0 Franklin Pierce Virginia Beach
2002 Christian Brothers (22-1) Gareth O'Sullivan 2-1 Nebraska-Omaha Virginia Beach
2001 UC San Diego (21-2) Brian McManus 2-0 Christan Brothers UC San Diego
2000 UC San Diego (21-2) Brian McManus 2-1 Northern Kentucky Barry
1999 Franklin Pierce (20-1) Jeff Bailey 3-1 Cal Poly Pomona Barry
1998 Lynn (19-1) Rocky Orezzoli 3-1 Sonoma State Lynn
1997 Franklin Pierce (21-0) Jeff Bailey 3-0 West Virginia Wesleyan Cal State Dominguez Hills
1996 Franklin Pierce (18-1) Jeff Bailey 1-0 Lynn Lynn
1995 Franklin Pierce (19-0) Mark Krikorian 5-0 Barry Franklin Pierce
1994 Franklin Pierce (20-0) Mark Krikorian 2-0 Regis (Colo.) Franklin Pierce
1993 Barry (17-1) Mike Covone 2-0 Cal Poly Barry
1992 Barry (17-2) Mike Covone 3-2 Adelphi Adelphi
1991 Cal State Dominguez Hills (18-4-1) Marine Cano 2-1 Sonoma State Cal State Dominguez Hills
1990 Sonoma State (14-4) Peter Reynaud 2-0 Keene State Barry
1989 Barry (17-0-1) Mike Covone 4-0 Keene State Barry
1988 Cal State East Bay (18-2) Colin Lindores 1-0 Barry Barry

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