The Lynchburg (Va.) and Williams (Mass.) women’s soccer teams are not used to losing. In fact, they had just one loss between them when they met in the NCAA Division III championship game Saturday.
Staunch defense carried them through 110 scoreless minutes, which included two overtimes and forced a penalty kick shootout for the title.
Williams sent two shots sailing wide left and Lynchburg sank all four of their shots, capping an undefeated season with a 4-3 penalty-kick victory at Swope Soccer Village. The Hornets, 27-0-1, won the program’s first national championship.
“We have had some really terrific teams at Lynchburg and have a rich history, so I am proud that we can bring a championship to Lynchburg College,” coach Todd Olsen said. “We have great community support and I hope they are going crazy right now because we are.”
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Lynchburg entered the match with an oppressive .151 goals-against average and the Hornets’ top-ranked defense was tested consistently. Luckily for them, sophomore goalkeeper Tess Frelick was up to the task, collecting seven saves on 15 shots.
“We are an attack-oriented team, and when you get to this level, the first thing you have to shut down is the attack,” Olsen said. “You have to have a defense to back it up, and we have been so strong defensively.”
It was the second championship game decided by penalty kicks for Williams, which settled for a tie in its conference championship.
“When you talk about a national championship-caliber game, that is what you are talking about,” Williams coach Michelyne Pinard said. “I couldn’t be more proud of my team.”