Bears fall short against Wheaton to close season
Up two goals to nil against No. 6 Wheaton College (Ill.) with just 18 minutes to go, the Washington University women’s soccer team had a trip to the NCAA semifinals within its sights.
In just a handful of minutes, however, that view vanished, as The Thunder scored three goals in 2:16. Wheaton won 4-2 in the NCAA quarterfinals on Saturday, putting an end to the Bears’ season.
“Knowing that we’re not going to get to play with those seniors anymore was the hardest part for me. Reflecting on it, we had a really good season; it’s just tough that it had to end,” sophomore Lauren Steimle said.
It only took 24 seconds for sophomore Jessica Johnson to find the back of the net on a chip shot past the Wheaton goalie, her fifth of the season. The rest of the half was back and forth, with the Thunder outshooting the Bears 8-6.
In the second half, the Red and Green extended their lead early. In the 59th minute, freshman Lillie Toaspern scored her team-leading 12th goal of the season on a chip over the goalkeeper’s head into the left corner. Wash. U. played on the defensive for the half, trying to hold their lead. The Bears took four shots and conceded 12 to Wheaton. But in the last 18 minutes, many of those shots finally made their way past the defense and standout goalie junior Clara Jaques.
In the course of 63 seconds, Wheaton tied the game, after two headers by Kaitlyn Le Baudour, who started the game at sweeper but moved to forward as the game waned.
Slightly more than a minute later, Wheaton scored the game winner. At 74:50 Keri Shannon scored unassisted to put the game away. The Thunder added their fourth goal in the 86th minute to secure their second victory over Wash. U. this season.
For the game, Wheaton took six corners to two for the Bears. Wash. U. committed 20 fouls in the loss, compared to only four by the Thunder.
The Red and Green advanced to play Wheaton through a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the College of St. Benedict on Friday.
Wash. U. scored two second-half goals to take a spot in the Elite Eight. St. Benedict struck early, only three minutes in, and led 1-0 at halftime despite being outshot 10-5 in the opening 45 minutes. St. Benedict was helped by its goalie, who had eight of her 10 saves in the first half.
In the second half, Wash. U. was finally able to get the ball into the back of the net. In the 77th minute, Steimle scored her 11th goal of the season. She found a loose ball in the box and tapped it in to tie the game.
A few minutes later, senior Lee Ann Felder scored the goal to take the lead off a corner kick by sophomore Kate Doyle. The 84th-minute goal was Felder’s eighth game-winning goal in her career. The Bears ended up with a 23-9 shot advantage, and the game was their 18th win of the season—a school record.
“We were all really pumped [about the victory]; we had lost to Wheaton earlier in the year, but we felt pretty good about that game. We didn’t have a doubt in our mind that we could win,” Steimle said.
Wash. U. ended its season with an 18-5 record, the best in school history.