Courtesy of Catholic Sports Information
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The Catholic University of America women's soccer team ended their season after being defeated by No. 6 Carnegie Mellon, 2-1 in overtime of the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championships second round, on Sunday, November 16.
"This was the toughest game we have played all year, which is to be expected in the NCAA tournament," said CUA Women's Head Soccer Coach J.P. Sousa. "Carnegie Mellon was better in the first half and made things difficult for us. We never got into a rhythm with the ball."
In first half, Carnegie Mellon found the back of the net when they took their second shot of the game in the 23rd minute. CMU's Morgan Kontor took an unassisted shot and sent it past CUA's Lexi Halperin.
The Tartans offense continued to play hard throughout the first half outshooting Catholic 5-0 in the first 45 minutes and holding a 1-0 lead over the Cardinals into the halftime intermission.
After the break the Tartans took 10 shots, seven on goal, in search of a second goal. The Cardinals defense led by Landmark Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Tricia Colucci, stopped the Tartans from improving their score, while Halperin made all seven saves.
The Cardinals fought back taking four shots in the second half with the hope of tying the game.
With just three minutes to play the Cardinals earned a corner kick and took advantage of the opportunity. Ava Brown inbounded the kick,Kirsten Wosleger collected the ball on far end and sent it back into the penalty box where Aleman got off a shot that was saved by CMU keeper, Katie Liston. Sarah Madden got her foot on the rebound and drove the ball straight to the back of the net for the Cardinals' equalizer.
"The second half was so much better for us as we took more chances forward and didn't back down when the play got physical," explained Sousa. "We really pushed forward with extra players in the final 15 minutes to try to tie the game. When Sarah scored everyone went crazy. The energy and excitement was really high and we felt like anything was possible going into OT."
In the 92nd minute Carnegie Mellon slotted their golden goal for the 2-1 win when CMU found the open player off a redirected ball and shot it low and hard past Halperin into the far post.
"We felt good going into overtime, but credit goes to them for taking advantage of an opportunity right away," said Sousa.
The Cardinals wrap up the season with a 16-2-3 overall record, the Tartans improve to the Sweet 16 with a 16-2 record.
"This was a tremendously successful season for us. I couldn't be happier for this group of players, stated Sousa. "We have a lot talent and it's a fun group to work with every day. The team accomplished so much in our conference and in our region, but to play the way they did this weekend in the NCAA's is so satisfying. 2014 is the most successful season we have ever had here at CUA."
Notes: This is the Cardinals first appearance in the second round and third overall in the NCAA Tournament. They fell in 2005 and 2009 in the first round.
Heading into the 2014 NCAA Tournament CUA was ranked No. 24 by D3soccer.com, Carnegie Mellon was ranked No. 7.