Hope Women's Soccer Edges Wis.-Whitewater In NCAA Tournament Opener
Cold but undeterred, Rylie Dalton charged ahead on the snowy grass field when her first shot on goal was turned away. Amid 29-degree game time temperatures, she didn't the miss her second chance.
The Hope College midfielder and junior from Rockford, Michigan (Rockford HS) buried a rebound early in the second half that stood up for a 1-0 victory against Wisconsin-Whitewater in NCAA Division III Tournament first-round action on Friday at the University of Chicago.
The Flying Dutch — after a setting a school record for wins in a single season by improving to 19-2-1 overall — advanced to a second-round match against top-ranked Chicago on Saturday at 1 p.m. Central. Chicago beat St. Catherine, Minnesota 3-0 in Friday's opener.
"The ball came from Witt," Dalton said, referring to senior forward Allie Wittenbach of Ada, Michigan (Forest Hills Central). "She sent down the line to Grace (Bubin), and she had a nice cross across the box. Erin (Brophy) and I saw an opening. Erin faked it, and I called for the ball. The goalie deflected it, and I was like 'I am scoring this goal!' I had it in my mind.
"I just followed up the rebound and shot it in. The feeling was amazing."
Dalton registered her eighth goal of the season 1 minute, 15 seconds into the second half for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champions.
It was enough for the Flying Dutch, who recorded their 16th shutout of the season — most in school history. The 2003 & 2005 Hope teams had 15 shutouts apiece.
Freshman goalie Jordanne Ellingboe of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven) made two saves for her 13th shutout of the season — tied for second-most all-time by a Flying Dutch goalie.
"It feels good to get another shutout, but we'll take the wins any way we can get them," head coach Leigh Sears said. "It's a business trip. We're not coming here to have fun. We're coming here to win."
The run that set up Dalton's decisive goal started in the halftime locker room.
Sears said the Flying Dutch made a halftime adjustment in response to their opponent and the wintry playing conditions.
"Riley comes off the first half and says 'Today's a day maybe we just skip the middle," Sears said. "We play so much through the middle and so much finessing on the ground. Maybe today's the day not to do that. We kind of changed up and were totally different in the second half."
Hope earned an 11-7 advantage in shots with eight shots after halftime. The Flying Dutch put six shots on goal, including four in the second half alone to Whitewater's one.
"It was great to come out in the second half ready to go," said Brophy, a senior forward from West Lafayette, Indiana (West Lafayette). Rylie getting that goal was great for our team to push us toward 'We can do this.'"