Lady Bears advance to National Championship game

| Senior Sports Editor

The 2009 Washington University women’s soccer team has gone farther than any squad in school history. With a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Lynchburg College on Dec. 4, the Lady Bears advance to the NCAA Division III National Championship game for the first time in program history.

“Being able to make history at Wash. U. is an incredible feeling although we always want to acknowledge the people who came before us,” senior co-captain Carter Schwarberg said. “We’re playing for the Wash. U. family which is definitely bigger than just this team.”

Wash. U. struck first with a goal by Julie Tembunkiart in the waning minutes of the first half. A loft pass by classmate Laura McGinnis set up the score that found the bottom far corner of the net. “Laura passed it to me right in front of the goal. I was able to trap it with my thigh and slip it to the right past the keeper who came out to steal it from my foot,” Tembunkiart said.

The Lynchburg Hornets came back, capitalizing on a corner kick that was ruled an own goal by Wash. U. just 6 minutes into the second half. The two teams would compete with several shots off the goal post. Despite that, the 1-1 tie was not broken in regulation or in double overtime, forcing a shootout.

Freshman goalkeeper Clara Jaques saved the first shot while senior Libby Held’s penalty kick was blocked. “Today was much scarier than the penalty shootout against Wheaton. The Final Four is not just another game like some people tell you,” Jaques said. “I knew I needed to make a couple of saves to keep it in.”

Both sides traded penalty kicks, with senior Caryn Rosoff and sophomore Lee Ann Felder scoring for Wash. U. Sophomore Emma Brown’s shot was also stopped by the Hornet goalkeeper, but senior Becca Heymann found the top-right corner of the net. Jaques came up with the next save and Schwarberg stepped up for the deciding penalty. Earlier in the game, Schwarberg received a yellow card for a foul.

Schwarberg’s shot found the net sparking a celebration as her teammates rushed her. “Carter especially put the exclamation point at the end for what she’s done for this team emotionally all year,” head coach Jim Conlon said.

A group of students traveled down from St. Louis in a Wash. U.-sponsored fan bus on Thursday night. “It’s amazing to know that we have that many people supporting us and that the school’s got our back.”

The Bears face No. 1 Messiah College (24-0-1) at 1 p.m. on Saturday in San Antonio, Texas, to decide the 2009 Division III Women’s Soccer National Championship. “We really want to beat Messiah,” Tembunkiart said. “Messiah’s won this before. They’ve been here before. They’ve got both their girls and guys teams here. We want to be the lower-ranked team for the first time, beat them and have an upset.”