Williams edges Chicago 1-0: Champs again!
By D3soccer.com Staff
|Chicago's Mia Calamri battles Sara Kelly of Williams for the ball in the first half.|
Photos by Dave Hilbert, d3photography.com
In an exciting contest that ebbed and flowed the Ephs battled to a 1-0 victory over a valiant Maroon squad to earn their second national championship in the last three years.
With all the talent across the pitch, perhaps the most influential players were the three keepers. Olivia Barnhill (Third Team All-New England from Williams and Chicago’s platooned duo of Katie Donovan (First Team All-Central Region) and freshman Miranda Malone were excellent today and each had memorable saves. William’s Barnhill in particular was outstanding as she thwarted numerous dangerous Chicago chances particularly during the Maroon onslaught over the final ten minutes.
It was a tale of two halves within one half. Williams opened on their front foot much the same, if not quite as persuasively, as in their semifinal contest. They spent the first twenty five minutes controlling possession and bringing the attack to the Maroons who had difficulty getting out of their own half. Chicago did offer up threats on long balls to Madori Spiker and Hannah Watkins. Barnhill did well charging off her line stop the attack.
|Williams' Natasha Albaneze celebrates after scoring the game-winner midway through the second half.|
In the middle part of the first half though, the Maroons gradually clawed their way to leveling out play. As Williams went deep into their bench, Chicago continued to grow into the contest and finished the last fifteen minutes with multiple threats. The Williams defense were on their heels and having difficulty getting it out of their own end.
At the half the nil-nil scoreline was reflected in the box score: Williams-Chicago:Shots 5-5, Shots on Goal 2-2, Saves 2-2 and Corner Kicks 2-1.
The second half started with a couple of early opportunities from the Ephs but the Maroons quickly were back on their front foot picking up where they left off at the end of the first. For most of the next ten minutes, play was in the Ephs half of the pitch with the ball at the feet of a Maroon attacker. Barnhart had to stop first McKinney after a corner kick service from Calamari and again shortly after Spiker threatened.
Chicago had now, spanning the half time, had the better of play for roughly twenty-five minutes and was creating the more dangerous opportunities. If this match were to have an outright winner, the Maroons seemed the more likely candidate at this point.
But then, as often happens in soccer, the match changed in a split second. Not one, but two Williams attackers sprang through a wide gap in the Chicago defense at the top of the box. Off perfectly timed runs they found themselves near the penalty spot 2 v 1 with Chicago’s keeper, Miranda Malone. Natasha Albaneze assisted by Danielle Sim and Natalie Turner-Wyatt lofted a shot over Malone’s outstretched hands for the winner at 55:30.
|Williams celebrates their second title in three years.|
The goal was against the run of play and a stunned Maroon team had difficulty recovering their composure which left the Ephs in control for several minutes. The Ephs had a few opportunities for a comfort goal before the Maroons gradually began reasserting influence.
Over the final ten minutes, the Williams defense, anchored by keeper Olivia Barnhill withstood a furious Maroon attack to win their second championship in the last three years.
At full time the statistics were reflective of this closely contested affair. Williams-Chicago: Shots 12-14, Shots on Goal 4-6, Saves 6-3 and Corner Kicks 4-4.
Chicago ends their season with a 22-2-0 record, tops in program history, and the Maroons’ second championship match appearance.
Williams finishes 22-1-1. The Ephs’ seniors compiled a four year mark of 82-4-7 (.919), reached three Final Fours and won two national championships.
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