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Herons Are National Champions!

Posted on Monday, December 09, 2013

The William Smith College soccer team defeated Trinity University 2-0 to win the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer National Championship on Saturday on Toyota Field in San Antonio, Texas. It's the second national championship in Heron soccer history.

The Herons capped their historic season with a 23-1-0 overall record. William Smith posted program records for wins in a season with 23 and shutouts in a season with 21. The Herons did not allow a single goal in all six NCAA tournament victories, and allowed just six goals all season. William Smith has earned 23 straight victories and 16 straight shutouts. The Herons' shutout streak spanned 1,472:07, another school record.

It's the 480th career win for William Smith Soccer Head Coach Aliceann Wilber, the winningest coach in Division III women's soccer, and this national championship victory comes 25 years after the Herons' only other national championship. William Smith defeated UC San Diego 1-0 in triple overtime for the title in 1988.

Junior Madeline Buckley scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the 11th minute and junior Krista Longo added an insurance goal in the second half. Senior goalie Chelsea Dunay made a season-high nine saves to secure her William Smith season record 18th shutout this year.

Dunay, who earned a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament team, also holds the Heron season record with 23 victories in goal this year. Senior defender Olivia Zitoli, first-year forward Kara Shue, sophomore midefielder Zoe Eth, and senior forward Krista Longo joined Dunay to represent William Smith on the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team. Zitoli was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Defensive Player and Longo was selected the Most Outstanding Offensive Player.

The Herons gave second-ranked Trinity its first loss this season. The Tigers finished the year with a 25-1-2 overall record.

Just 10:22 into the match Buckley gave William Smith a 1-0 advantage. Shue pushed a pass from the left side to find Buckley who fired home her shot from right out in front. It was Buckley's team-leading 10th goal this season, and Shue's team-high 11th assist this year.

Trinity's best scoring chance of the first half came in the 28th minute when the Tigers earned a corner kick. It was sent into the box by Kirby Peddicord. Yasmeen Farrah got the ball about six yards out right in front of the goal, but blasted her shot just high of the crossbar.

Longo put the Herons up 2-0 in the 52nd minute. She settled the ball in the box, and drilled a shot on goal. It banged off the underside of the crossbar and fell over the goal line. Buckley was there to ensure it was a goal, sending the ball into the back of the net, but it turned out to not be necessary, as Longo was credited with the unassisted tally. It was Longo's second goal in as many days, as she chipped in the game winner in the William Smith's national semifinal win yesterday. It was her eighth goal this season.

Trinity had another chance to get on the scoreboard with just under 24 minutes left in the game. The Tigers launched the ball deep into the box, and one of the Trinity players was able to get a high shot off through a crowd in front of the goal, but Dunay made the vertical leap to get her hand on the ball and deny the Tigers' scoring chance.

Minutes later the Herons almost took a 3-0 lead. Longo broke through the Trinity defense for a one-on-one with the Tigers' keeper Devan Osegueda. Osegueda came rushing out of the goal to just barely beat Longo to the ball and knock it over the right sideline. Osegueda finished with four saves in goal for Trinity.

The Heron defense continued to dominate in the national championship match as it has done so many times this season. William Smith blocked nine of Trinity's shots this afternoon. The Tigers finished with a 24-12 advantage in shots. Each team earned three corners in the match.

William Smith's three seniors, Zitoli, Dunay and Kim Knefel capped their Heron careers in the best possible fashion. In their four years on the team, William Smith has notched a 75-7-8 record and a national championship.

 


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