NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – A pair of goals in the final 15 minutes of the second half moved third-seeded Transylvania University past Manchester University 2-0 Wednesday, Nov. 6.
The Spartans, seeing their season close at 12-7-1, had opportunities throughout the opening 45 minutes and early in the second half to break up the scoreless deadlock. However, TU goalkeeper Jerrica Scovel deflected six shot on goal tries to earn a 90-minute clean sheet.
"In the end, this is the way soccer goes sometimes," MU head coach Andy Stout said. "Our team gave it all they had today, working hard throughout the match, but unfortunately, the ball didn't bounce our way when we needed it to. A shot that was just wide here … another one that deflected off the crossbar there … We were close, but Transylvania converted on some chances down the stretch, and that was the difference."
Junior goalkeeper Emily Willmann (Montpelier, Ind.) was equal to her counterpart in net for 76-plus minutes. The Pioneers' Alyssa Kruse took advantage of a counter attack that got behind MU's defense at 76:31 and narrowly beat Willmann to the ball to score the first goal. TU's offense got a similar chance less than eight minutes later and converted due to a collision in the box that sent Dani Kane into a penalty kick chance. The first one was deflected by Willmann but another ensued on a Black and Gold foul call. The second time, Kane got one past for the second and final score of the match.
"Emily was awesome today," Stout said. "She made some amazing plays that, in my opinion, show why she is one of the best goalkeepers around."
The Spartans' offense generated 17 shot attempts, just one less than Transylvania (14-3-2). Their best chances to dent the scoreboard occurred in the first half when freshman forward/midfielder Allison Moore (Richmond, Ind.) got the ball in the box and sent a dart to the right of Scovel that was pushed just wide and in the second half when sophomore forward Brandy Crouse (Cleves, Ohio) took a corner kick from junior midfielder Amber Oster (Waterloo, Ind.) and headed into over Scovel's hands but off the crossbar and out of play followed moments later by a ball that junior midfielder Amber Kent (Fountaintown, Ind.) pushed high in front of the goal.
"It's been a phenomenal season," Stout reflected afterwards. "We reached all of the goals that we set after last year. It wasn't easy to meet some of them, especially hosting a conference tournament match. We had to have every one of these eight league victories to do so, because the league race was so close."
Transylvania's win moved them into the HCAC tourney finale at top-seeded Hanover College Saturday, Nov. 9.
NOTES: The Black and Gold's win total was the most for the program since 2005 and the first 10-plus-win campaign since 2006-07.