Women’s soccer clinches conference title with OT win over Chicago

Anna Schoenfeld | Contributing Reporter

The Washington University women’s soccer team scored the lone goal in overtime to defeat No. 8 University of Chicago 1-0 and claim the conference title for the second year in a row.

Senior forward Katie Chandler won the game for the No. 10 Bears with less than two minutes left in the first overtime. Chandler, who had several close chances throughout the game, hung around on the offensive end of the field and was ready for the pass when freshman Taylor Cohen launched the ball to her.

The Bears huddle before their Nov. 5 game against University of Chicago. The Bears beat University of Chicago 1-0 during overtime off a goal from senior forward Katie Chandler, her eighth of the season.

The Bears huddle before their Nov. 5 game against University of Chicago. The Bears beat University of Chicago 1-0 during overtime off a goal from senior forward Katie Chandler, her eighth of the season.

“I remember getting the pass from Taylor and then turning the [defender] and thinking to myself, ‘This is the chance; this is what I have to do and when I can do it,’” Chandler said. “So, I tried to read the keeper—see where she was leaning toward, and I ended up kicking it straight at her, through her legs.”

Chandler buried the breakaway goal as her teammates rushed onto the field. It was Chandler’s eighth goal of the season and her sixth game-winner. She also led the team with four shots in the game.

The two teams swapped chances at the start of the first half, with Wash. U.’s greatest opportunity coming when a through ball found its way to senior back Hannah Rosenberg. Her shot was tipped away and out of bounds by the Chicago goalkeeper. Chandler had possession after the ensuing corner kick, but her shot flew just barely over the crossbar.

Chicago had the advantage in shots in the first half, 9-6, while the Bears had 10 fouls to the Maroon’s six.

The Bears came out with a swell of intensity at the start of the second half but were unable to convert on several close chances. In the 76th minute, junior midfielder Megan Renken found herself alone in the box with the ball, but again, the Chicago goalie was able to tip the shot just enough to keep it out of the net.

In an intense final minute of regulation, sophomore Jessica Ridderhoff received the ball on a breakaway but was denied by Donovan seconds before the buzzer sounded.

Head coach Jim Conlon spoke of his team’s ability to come together and finish with the win in such a hard-fought, intense game.

“Chicago’s a fantastic team,” he said. “I thought both teams just got a little tired at the end. But our girls believe in each other, and I think they capitalized. No matter what Chicago threw at us, we found a way.”

Senior goalie Lizzy Crist finished with five saves, on less than her season high. Her biggest play of the night came just 90 seconds into the game, when she had to dive to save a header from Chicago. The shutout by Crist was her 14th of the season and the 26th of her career, a new Wash. U. record.

Chicago outshot the Bears 20-18 overall in the game and led 7-4 in corner kicks.

The Bears finished the regular season with an overall record of 12-2-2, including an undefeated 7-0-1 at home.

For Chandler and the other seniors who played potentially their last game at Francis Field, there could not have been a better way to end the regular season than clinching the conference championship.

“It’s what you dream of as a Wash. U. athlete,” Chandler said. “It’s amazing, as a senior. This is what I’ve dedicated four years of my time here toward; to not only win with my team, but to win like that—it’s pretty special.”

Instead of hoping for an at-large bid into the postseason, the team will watch the Division III Women’s Soccer Selection Show on Monday night knowing they are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. This will be the team’s 11th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.

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