Women’s soccer: Bears advance to Sweet Sixteen with OT wins

| Sports Reporter
Fans and players celebrate after Sunday’s NCAA Division III women’s soccer Central Regional final game. The game went into overtime at 0-0, with Hanly scoring the winning goal. The Bears will compete in sectionals versus Wheaton College this Friday. (Daniel Eicholtz | Student Life)

Fans and players celebrate after Sunday’s NCAA Division III women’s soccer Central Regional final game. The game went into overtime at 0-0, with Hanly scoring the winning goal. The Bears will compete in sectionals versus Wheaton College this Friday. (Daniel Eicholtz | Student Life)

Francis Field’s atmosphere was electric and tense this weekend as Washington University’s women’s soccer team defeated both Webster University and Illinois Wesleyan University in sudden death overtimes. With the victory against Illinois Wesleyan, the Bears advance to the NCAA’s Sweet Sixteen for the fourth time in row. The Red and Green face Wheaton (Ill.) on Friday, at a to-be-determined location.

“It’s really exciting. Being in a class that’s won the UAA every year and been to the Sweet Sixteen four years in a row feels good,” senior captain Becca Heymann said. “But we really want to win [the national championship].”

Wash. U. 1, Illinois Wesleyan 0 (OT)

In a game that was dominated by a midfield tug-of-war and defensive plays, neither team saw an opportunity to score until 15 minutes into the first half when Wash. U. had a breakaway. But the effort was for nil, as neither team found the back of the net until overtime. Both teams were in a 3-4-3 formation, packing the midfield with action. But the Wash. U. offense still found more success than the Titans, as the Bears led 6-1 in shots with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

Heymann was recognized by a lot of her teammates as being a standout performance.

Senior midfielder Elyse Hanly clears the ball during the second half of Sunday's NCAA Division III Regional Final game. The game went into overtime at 0-0 with Hanly scoring the winning goal. The Bears will compete in the Sweet Sixteen  versus Wheaton College this Friday. (Daniel Eicholtz | Student Life)

Senior midfielder Elyse Hanly clears the ball during the second half of Sunday's NCAA Division III Regional Final game. The game went into overtime at 0-0 with Hanly scoring the winning goal. The Bears will compete in the Sweet Sixteen versus Wheaton College this Friday. (Daniel Eicholtz | Student Life)

“There were a lot of great, great efforts, [especially] Becca Heymann in the middle,” head coach Jim Conlon said. “Playing 90 minutes in the center mid and doing what she did laterally and vertically, she was special today.”

Sophomore Lee Ann Felder had a golden opportunity to score from a free kick a little over 17 minutes into the first half, but the ball ricocheted off the crossbar.

UAA Rookie of the Year Clara Jaques, a freshman, had her ninth shutout of the season.

“It’s awesome. It was our goal [to get a shutout],” Jaques said. “To do it here on our field is amazing.”

The game rolled into overtime, and the intensity on the field heightened noticeably. The two teams’ last meeting in the beginning of the season had ended in a Wash. U. loss. Halfway through the first overtime, senior Elyse Hanly received a pass from classmate Becca Heymann, who had dribbled around a Titan defender. Senior Caryn Rosoff had the hockey assist, getting the ball to Heymann off her heel while being tightly defended.

“Becca gave a great ball to right in front of the net—I just passed it in,” Hanly said.

Wash. U. 2, Webster 1 (OT)

More than 300 fans enjoyed the beautiful Saturday morning as the Bears defeated Webster in overtime. Scoring started quickly, as senior Carter Schwarberg had scored under four minutes in.

“I think Carter, as always, played phenomenally. I mean she got a black eye. She gets up and we look at her eye and [told] her go of off, and she’s like, ‘No, I’ll keep playing.’ She’s such a beast,” said sophomore Emma Brown, who made the All-UAA Second Team. Luckily for the Bears, Carter stayed in and scored under a minute after.

“There was kind of a scramble in the back, and the other team failed to clear it, and I got a good hit on it with my left foot,” Schwarberg said.

The Gorloks were able to stay in the game because of their goalie, freshman Shelby Wade. Wade’s seven saves came at crucial points within the game.