The Capital University women's soccer team will head to the University of Wisconsin Whitewater this weekend to face the University of Chicago in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Tournament.
The first-round match will take place this Saturday, November 16, at 7:30 pm Central time (8:30 pm Eastern). The winner of the Capital-Chicago match will take on the winner of Wisconsin-Whitewater and St. Scholastica (Minn.) in the second round on Sunday at 5 pm Central.
The Crusaders (16-4-1 overall) wrapped up the Ohio Athletic Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and their fifth-ever bid to the NCAAs by winning their second OAC Tournament title in the last three years. Capital defeated John Carroll 4-0 in Sunday's championship match.
Chicago (11-4-3), a member of the University Athletic Association (UAA), received a Pool C, or at-large, bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Maroons saw their five-match unbeaten streak end with a 2-0 setback at No. 1 Washington (Mo.) University on Saturday in the team's regular season finale.
Chicago was receiving votes in the most recent NSCAA Division III Top 25 poll and was ranked fifth in the Central Region in the NCAA's latest regional rankings.
The Crusaders, who were ranked fifth in the Great Lakes Region, earned the program's first OAC regular season championship since 2004 by virtue of a 7-2 regular season league record, sharing the title with John Carroll. Capital garnered the No. 1 seed and home field advantage in the conference tournament by virtue of its victory over the Blue Streaks during the regular season.
After starting the regular season with a loss against then-No. 5 Carnegie Mellon and a tie at 2012 NCAA qualifier Penn State-Behrend, the Crusaders rattled off nine wins in their next 10 matches, including a 2-1 triumph in two overtimes at then-No. 14 Thomas More (Ky.) and 2-0 victory over co-champion John Carroll on October 5. The team's only loss in that stretch came against Hanover, which enters the NCAA Tournament as the region's top-ranked team.
Following a 1-2 road trip, Capital won four straight to close the regular season, taking down cross-town rival Otterbein 1-0 in the finale on November 2 to clinch their share of the championship.
After earning a bye to the OAC Tournament semifinals, the Crusaders knocked off the Cardinals again by an identical 1-0 score Thursday at Bernlohr Stadium. Senior midfielder Livvy Hein (Worthington, Ohio) provided the game-winning tally in the 15th minute, volleying a bouncing ball out of the air and into the side of the far post.
Capital finished its championship run Sunday against John Carroll, scoring twice in the first 17 minutes of play and adding a pair of insurance goals in the last 10 minutes of the match. Senior forward Hilary Ells (Grandview Heights, Ohio) made a great move to the inside off a throw-in from Hein in the fifth minute and finished at the near post for what proved to be the game-winner. Senior defender Lauren Roy (Toledo, Ohio), sophomore midfielder Allison Mervau (Micanopy, Fla.) and senior midfielder Katie Freshour (North Canton, Ohio) also added goals in the contest.
Sunday's win was also Capital's 11th shutout of the season and the sixth solo shutout for senior goalkeeper Maggie Donnellan (Cincinnati, Ohio).
Read more and find related links at athletics.capital.edu.