Mid-Atlantic Review, Week 9
By D3soccer.com Contributor
Week nine is finished, meaning that this upcoming week is the last of our columns - already! What happened to this season? It flew by in an instant (we warned you it would). The playoffs start next week and while the MAC Freedom and Commonwealth conferences are almost (but not quite) set, we won’t find out who will play who and where they will play until the final day of the regular season. Meanwhile, the Centennial Conference is wide open, with the regular season champion and playoff seedings coming down to the wire. And while there are no Landmark Conference teams in the rankings this week, their playoff seedings are also up for grabs. There will be scoreboard watching galore next Saturday, that’s for sure!
Let’s take a look back at what the top teams in the region did this week and what we have to look forward to in the upcoming week...
Messiah (15-1-1 / 6-0-1) D3Soccer.com No. 1 / MA Region No. 1
Messiah returned to the top of the D3Soccer.com national rankings Tuesday after a week’s absence, traveling to Hood (11-5-2 / 3-2-1) Wednesday night in their quest to stay there. There was a Firestone hat trick, as the sisters combined for three goals (senior Brooke for two and freshman Kylie for one), while Ellie Lengacher and Claire Brier added scores for the Falcons. The Falcons outshot the Blazers 39-6 (18-3 SOG) and took eight corners to Hood’s two. With the win, the Falcons clinch a berth in the MAC Commonwealth playoffs and may see Hood again quickly, as the Blazers currently sit in fourth place in the postseason seedings.
Albright (9-7-0 / 3-3-0) welcomed Messiah to Reading Saturday night coming directly off of a big upset of then-No. 14 Arcadia. The Falcons found the going rough, but still came away with a 2-1 conference victory. Shelby Burger scored in the 29th minute and Claire Brier converted a penalty kick for the Falcons in the 42nd minute to take a 2-0 lead into the half. The Lions scored their first-ever goal against the Falcons in the 49th minute, but could never net the equalizer. The Falcons held slight edges in shots at 16-8 (8-7 SOG) and took five corners to three for the Lions.
Johns Hopkins (11-1-4 / 5-0-3) D3Soccer.com No. 7 / MA Region No. 2
Johns Hopkins traveled to Ursinus (4-9-2 / 0-8-0) Saturday afternoon and came away with a 1-0 Centennial Conference victory thanks to Maggie Coulson’s free kick goal in the 20th minute. Coulson bent the ball beautifully around the wall to give Hopkins the lead. The Blue Jays outshot the Bears 15-4 (7-1 SOG) and took five corners to the Bears’ one. Hopkins will finish out the regular season by traveling to Gettysburg (11-2-1 / 5-2-1) Wednesday afternoon and hosting Franklin and Marshall (9-5-1 / 5-4-0) Saturday afternoon. The Blue Jays can still earn the top seed for the Centennial Conference playoffs, but will need some help to do it, as they currently sit in second place behind Dickinson.
Arcadia (14-2-2 / 5-1-1) D3Soccer.com No. 21 / MA Region No. 3
Arcadia hosted Widener (10-6-1 / 1-4-1) Wednesday night, coming away with a 3-1 conference home victory. The Knights got three first half goals from three different players. First, Karlie Flowers converted a penalty kick to take the early lead after the Pride keeper took down Mackenzie Hoffman in the box. Erin Vander Plaat scored just over four minutes later, and Hoffman added her own goal in the 24th minute to finish off the scoring for the Knights. The Pride scored a late goal in the 87th minute that served only as a small morale boost. The Knights also controlled the statistics, putting up 16 shots to the Pride’s six (9-3 SOG) and held a slight 5-4 edge in corner kicks. With the win, Arcadia solidified their hold on second place in the conference playoffs standings and will clinch a playoff berth with their next victory. Meanwhile, despite their 10-5-1 overall record, Widener is in danger of missing the MAC Commonwealth playoffs. The Pride hold their destiny in their own hands, however, and if they win out can still make the playoffs.
The Knights struggled to figure out the Blazers’ defense Saturday afternoon when they traveled to Hood (11-5-2 / 3-2-1). Despite putting up 20 shots to only four for the Blazers, they couldn’t put one in the net during regulation and had to head into overtime. Karlie Flowers scored off of a corner kick in the 93rd minute to win the game and clinch a postseason berth for the Knights. The Knights held an 8-2 edge in shots on goal and attempted 13 corner kicks to zero for the Blazers.
Haverford (11-2-2 / 5-1-2) D3Soccer.com RV / MA Region No. 4
When Haverford traveled to Dickinson (11-1-4 / 6-0-2) Saturday afternoon, it was a clash between the two teams at the top of the Centennial Conference standings with identical 5-0-2 records. The Fords struggled to solve the Red Devil defense, managing only three shots, with just two of those on goal. The Fords allowed a goal in the 52nd minute of play and could never get an equalizer, falling 0-1 to Dickinson and temporarily into fourth place in the conference standings. McDaniel currently sits ahead of Haverford in the standings, but has played one more conference game than the Fords. Should both teams win out, Haverford will move into third place in the standings. The loss was the Fords’ first since the opening weekend of the season.
The Fords have two Centennial Conference games remaining, first traveling to Bryn Mawr (5-9-0 / 0-8-0) Tuesday afternoon to face the owls before their big conference finale against rival Swarthmore (10-5-0 / 4-4-0) Saturday afternoon at home.
Dickinson (11-1-4 / 6-0-2) D3Soccer.com No. 14 / MA Region No. 5
Dickinson hosted Haverford (11-2-2 / 5-1-2) Saturday afternoon, the other top team atop the Centennial Conference standings. The match lived up to its billing, with two heavyweights locked in a defensive battle. It took a freshman on Senior Day to lift the Red Devils to a 1-0 victory, with first-year Meg Tate scoring the game-winner in the 52nd minute. Dickinson outshot the Fords 14-9 (9-2 SOG), but trailed 4-6 in corner kicks.
Dickinson controls its own destiny in the conference standings and can wrap up the number one seed this week when they host McDaniel (13-4-0 / 6-3-0) Wednesday afternoon and then travel to Gettysburg (11-2-1 / 5-2-1) Saturday night for their conference finale.
Stevens (11-3-1 / 6-0-0) D3Soccer.com No. 20 / SA Region No. 6
Stevens hosted DeSales (13-3-1 / 4-1-1) Wednesday night in an important MAC Freedom matchup, and clinched a conference playoff berth with their 2-1 victory. Gianna Nitti opened the scoring for the Ducks and Julia Panko scored what would be the eventual game-winner in the 55th minute. DeSales added a goal in the 71st minute to pull within one, but could never net the equalizer. The Ducks controlled play, outshooting the Bulldogs 20-7 (7-2 SOG) and held a slight 3-2 edge in corner kicks. The Ducks are in a position to host their MAC Freedom playoff games, holding a full one game lead and head-to-head victory over second place Misericordia.
The Ducks visited Delaware Valley (1-13-1 / 0-6-0) Saturday night and locked up at least a share of the MAC Freedom regular-season title with a 3-0 victory. Julia Panko scored two goals, one of them a converted penalty, while Gianna Nitti scored the game-winner for the Ducks. The Ducks outshot the Aggies 26-1 (14-1 SOG) and held a 7-0 advantage in corners.
The Ducks finish out their last week of regular season play by traveling to Western Connecticut (13-4-1 / 7-0-0) for a non-conference match before returning home to host Eastern (7-8-1 / 2-3-1) in their MAC Freedom regular season finale.
McDaniel (13-4-0 / 6-3-0) D3Soccer.com NR / MA Region No. 7
McDaniel stepped out of the conference for a day to host Elizabethtown (9-4-1 / 4-1-0) Tuesday afternoon, and came away with a 2-0 victory on two second half goals. The game was tight in the scoreless first half, with the Green Terror holding a slight 5-3 edge in shots. McDaniel took over in the second half, putting up 12 shots to the Blue Jays’ one, to finish with a 17-4 advantage in shots. Hannah Schepers scored both goals for the Green Terror, one in the 59th minute and one in the 67th. The Green Terror now turn their focus back to conference play with two important Centennial Conference games.
The Green Terror hosted Muhlenberg (7-5-2 / 2-4-2) Saturday afternoon and despite controlling play and possession for most of the game, needed an overtime golden goal to get the 2-1 Centennial Conference win. Kathryn Dixon opened the scoring for McDaniel in the 42nd minute, but the Mules equalized early in the second half. The Green Terror couldn’t net the game-winner until the first overtime when Hannah Schepers fired a shot from the top of the box past the Mule keeper. For the game, McDaniel outshot the Muhlenberg 22-6 (11-3 SOG) and held a 7-5 advantage in corner kicks.
McDaniel has one Centennial Conference match remaining and it’s an important one against conference leader Dickinson (11-1-4 / 6-0-2) on Wednesday afternoon. The Green Terror currently sit in third place in the conference standings, but can cause chaos for the final weekend should they be able to knock off the Red Devils.
Swarthmore (10-5-0 / 4-4-0) D3Soccer.com No. 24 / MA Region No. 8
Swarthmore hosted Gettysburg (11-2-1 / 5-1-2) Saturday night and looking at the stat sheet, you would think that the game was an even draw, but the Garnet found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-0 decision. The Garnet held a slight advantage in shots (11-10), shots on goal (7-6), and corners (2-1), but could never find the net while the Bullets found it three times.
The Garnet have two remaining conference games, first hosting Muhlenberg (7-5-2 / 2-4-2) Wednesday afternoon before traveling to face rival Haverford (11-2-2 / 5-1-2) Saturday afternoon. The 2018 Centennial Conference Champs find themselves in danger of missing the conference playoffs, currently sitting in seventh place, two outside of the fifth and final playoff spot.
Gettysburg (11-2-1 / 5-2-1) D3Soccer.com NR / MA Region No. 9
When Gettysburg hosted Catholic (8-6-3 / 4-1-1) Wednesday night in a non-conference matchup, all the game’s scoring was over in the first minute. Erika Muskus intercepted a Cardinal defender’s pass and scored only :57 seconds into the game. The teams battled for the rest of the game without adding any goals, and Gettysburg came away with a 1-0 victory. The Bullets finished with an 11-6 advantage in shots (7-4 SOG), but trailed 4-9 in corner kicks taken.
The Bullets traveled to Swarthmore (10-5-0 / 4-4-0) Saturday night and ruined the Garnet’s Senior Night by dealing them a 3-0 Centennial Conference defeat. Erika Muskus scored the game-winner in the 13th minute and an insurance goal in the 67th, while Brooke Priddy scored for the Bullets early in the second half. The game was played very evenly, with the Garnet holding a slight edge in shots at 11-10, shots on goal at 7-6, and corner kicks at 2-1, but the Bullets were able to find the back of the net three times, while the Garnet got skunked. Gettysburg sophomore keeper Maddie Cunningham was the difference-maker in the game, making seven saves for the Bullets.
Currently holding the fifth and final playoff spot in the Centennial Conference, the Bullets control their own destiny. That destiny, however, involves playing the two teams that are tops in the conference and both nationally-ranked. They’ll start their week by hosting No. 7 Johns Hopkins (11-1-4 / 5-0-3) Wednesday afternoon, then welcoming No. 14 Dickinson (11-1-4 / 6-0-2) Saturday night. Win, and they’re in. Lose, and they may be watching from home because Swarthmore and Franklin and Marshall are looming just behind them in the standings.
Misericordia (9-4-2 / 5-1-0) D3Soccer.com NR / MA Region No. 10
Misericordia has been absent to the regional rankings for a few weeks now, fighting and clawing their way back in. The Cougars traveled the short trip to King's (6-10-1 / 1-5-0) Saturday afternoon and made quick work of the Monarchs, handing them a 5-0 MAC Freedom defeat. Madison Majcher scored two goals for the Cougars, while Jordyn Martini, Colleen Kinsella, and Devyn Anderson added singles. The Cougars outshot the Monarchs 24-8 (13-3 SOG) and held an eight to two advantage in corner kicks. With the win, the Cougars clinched a berth in the MAC Freedom postseason.
The Cougars will travel to Scranton (7-5-3 / 4-2-0) Wednesday night for a non-conference, but still very important regional matchup. Both of these teams are suffering through subpar seasons from what they are accustomed to, and a win will greatly enhance their postseason resume. Misericordia will then finish off their regular season Saturday with a conference matchup with DeSales (13-3-1 / 4-1-1), hosting the Bulldogs for a game that will have a definite impact on MAC Freedom playoff seedings.
Watching… and how they did this past week.
As The Doors sang, “This is the end”. The regular season ends this week and conference playoffs begin next week for most conferences. Let’s take a moment and think about those players who are playing their last games this week. With 440 women’s teams across the nation in NCAA DIII soccer, most will not make the postseason. While many of the teams that we cover on a weekly basis are standard fixtures in the postseason every year, only 64 teams will make the NCAA Championship Tournament. This is the end for many careers this week due to graduation, injury, or decisions to pursue other interests than soccer. In any case, this is a melancholy week for many across the soccer community as they say goodbye to competitive soccer, an activity that many of them have participated in for as long as they can remember. Keep them in mind as we celebrate those who get to continue on with their seasons for a few more weeks.
Now, onto the postseason...
Comments or feedback for the author? E-mail us.