BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Wednesday's two 2016 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) semifinal games followed similar scripts as both top-seeded St. Thomas and third-seeded Augsburg got a goal in each half and put up a zero on defense to earn their spots in Saturday's championship.
| 2016 MIAC Women's Soccer Playoffs |
The regular-season champion Tommies (17-1-1), ranked No. 14 in the nation, got one goal really early into Wednesday's semifinal against No. 4 St. Catherine (11-6-2), and another really late to earn a 2-0 win, and the right to host the title game for the second-straight season. Meanwhile, the Auggies (16-4) showed no ill effects of playing in the quarterfinals just 24 hours earlier as they scored early in each half to pull off a 2-0 road win against No. 2 Bethel (13-5-1) in a battle of teams that finished the regular season tied for second.
NO. 1 ST. THOMAS 2, NO. 4 ST. CATHERINE 0 | Box Score |
St. Thomas entered Wednesday's Playoff semifinal with a near-perfect 10-0-1 record against MIAC foes in 2016, and though the Wildcats were riding high with momentum following Tuesday's quarterfinal shootout win – the program's first MIAC Playoff victory – the Tommies were just too tough in a 2-0 victory.
It didn't take long for UST to seize control. The home team cashed in on a corner kick just 4:38 into the game, as Hailey Zweber served it into the box and Elizabeth Luotto headed it into the net for a 1-0 lead, and the eventual game winner. St. Kate's stayed within striking distance for most of the game, but the equalizer eluded the Wildcats. Then, with less than nine minutes left, the Tommies sealed the deal when Mallory DeBoom fed a pass ahead to Sara Osborne who buried her shot for the insurance goal and the 2-0 win.
Tarynn Theilig, the reigning MIAC Defensive Player-of-the-Year, was stellar – as was the defense in front of her – as she earned the shutout and the win with three saves as she improved to 17-1-1 with 13 shutouts and an 0.21 goals against average. A day after playing the hero in St. Kate's quarterfinal shootout win, keeper Jessica Perez-Adame made five saves but surrendered two goals in the loss. UST had more shots (14-7), shots on goal (7-3) and corner kicks (8-2) and committed fewer fouls (6-14).
NO. 3 AUGSBURG 2, NO. 2 BETHEL 0 | Box Score |
The Auggies used a 2-0 win in Tuesday's quarterfinals to earn a trip to Arden Hills, Minn., to face Bethel, which entered the Playoffs with an incredible story. A year after finishing 3-15 overall and 1-11 in conference play, the Royals received a first-round bye and the No. 2 seed, and were primed to host the first MIAC Playoff game in program history. However, Augsburg's high-powered offense and a strong defensive effort proved to be too much for Bethel's storybook season to continue, as the Auggies used a 2-0 lead to return to the MIAC Playoff title game for the third time in five seasons.
Rookie sensation Ashley St. Aubin was ready to rock for the Auggies in her first career postseason game. Just 2:39 into the game Augsburg's freshman star connected on a free kick from 30-yards out to put her team up 1-0. The goal ended up being the eventual game-winner for St. Aubin, who leads the MIAC in goals (15), points (37) and game-winning goals (nine).
Bethel came to life later in the first half and started controlling more of the action, but couldn't get a shot past Auggie keeper Marissa Guillou and remained down a goal into the second half. Amost nine minutes after halftime, Augsburg struck again to make it 2-0 and put the game out of reach. Carter Dennison scored her sixth goal of the season to give the visitors an insurance goal, and a lead that would stand up and send them to the title game.
Guillou improved to 14-3 in the net thanks to her five-save shutout, while her counterpart – Bethel's Dylan Melby – made seven saves while allowing two goals to drop to 12-4-1 on the season. The two teams were dead even in shots (10-10) and corner kicks (3-3), but Augsburg had more shots on goal (9-5) and scoring chances behind five shots on goal from St. Aubin. The Royals committed fewer fouls, 6-to-9.
STAGE SET FOR 'CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY'
Thanks to their Wednesday semifinal wins, St. Thomas and Augsburg will meet on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 1:30 p.m. in the 2016 MIAC Women's Soccer Playoff championship game. The game will be part of an epic "Championship Saturday" at UST, as the men also host their title game at 11:30 a.m. The Tommies and Auggies will meet for the second Saturday in a row, as UST scored a 2-1 home win on Oct. 29 over Augsburg to close out the regular season – only this time a championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament are on the line. The MIAC Playoff champion will receive the postseason championship plaque and the conference's automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Tournament.
The MIAC has a home page dedicated to the 2016 MIAC Women's Soccer Playoffs, containing schedules, links and information on each of the six teams in the field. Throughout the tournament, the page will be updated with scores, stats, updated schedules and more. Fans can also follow the action on the MIAC Scoreboard or on the free MIAC mobile app. Connect throughout the Playoffs on social media through the MIAC's Facebook, Instagram or Twitter accounts, using the hashtag #MIACWSOC.
2016 MIAC WOMEN'S SOCCER PLAYOFFS
Quarterfinals | Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 | 2 p.m. |
No. 3 Augsburg def. No. 6 Hamline, 2-0 | Box Score | Recap |
No. 4 St. Catherine def. No. 5 Gustavus, 1-1 (Shootout 3-1) | Box Score | Recap |
Semifinals | Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016 | 2 p.m. |
No. 1 St. Thomas def. No. 4 St. Catherine, 2-0 | Box Score |
No. 3 Augsburg def. No. 2 Bethel, 2-0 | Box Score |
Championship | Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016 | 1:30 p.m. |
No. 3 Augsburg at No. 1 St. Thomas | St. Paul, Minn. |