No. 4 Bears Edge No. 1 Messiah in Penalty Kicks to Advance to NCAA Women's Soccer Final

No. 4 Bears Edge No. 1 Messiah in Penalty Kicks to Advance to NCAA Women's Soccer Final

From Washington University Athletics

Junior goalkeeper Lizzy Crist made five saves and stopped four penalty kicks to lead the No. 4-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's soccer team to a 3-2 shootout victory over No. 1 Messiah College in the 2015 NCAA Division III Semifinals Friday at the Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City. The game ended in a 1-1 tie after 110 minutes of play.

Crist made three straight saves in the shootout, including a stop that sent it to sudden death. Following Crist's third save, junior Hannah Rosenberg snuck a shot inside the left corner to put WashU up 3-2. Missy Biener then pushed a shot over the crossbar which sent WashU to the national championship match for the second time in school history.

"It's a whirlwind of emotion during penalty kicks," said Crist, who has an 18-2-1 record in goal. "It was an exciting moment and I took one PK at a time."

Sophomore Gillian Myers recorded the first successful PK to tie the score at 1-1, and then senior Liz Collins connected on a penalty kick to knot the score at 2-2.

WashU takes a 20-2-1 overall record into the national championship match against No. 6 Williams College, set for Saturday, Dec. 4, at 1:30 p.m. Williams rallied for a 2-1 win over No. 9 Centre College in the second semifinal.

Messiah ended its season with a 22-0-3 mark. The Falcons outshot WashU 20-16, and had a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks. Messiah entered the match allowing just six shots in the first four NCAA Tournament games.

"Congratulations to Messiah and head coach Scott Frey. They have an unbelievable team and pressed us to every limit we had," said WashU head coach Jim Conlon. "I am extremely pleased about the result. The girls never gave up, and we were fortunate enough to advance."

Messiah came out quickly registering the first two shots of the game, with one on goal that Crist had to save in the second minute.

WashU took its first shot of the game in the 11th minute when sophomore Megan Renkentook a cross from Rosenberg and sent a header that Messiah goalkeeper Audra Larson made a diving save.

The Bears had another great chance in the 19th minute when junior All-American Katie Chandler settled a ball and sent a left-footed shot from the right side that was high and left. WashU had the 5-2 shot advantage in the opening 30 minutes of play.

Messiah took over the final 15 minutes of play in the first half outshooting the Bears 8-0, and capitalized in the 41st minute after Holly Burgard fired a shot from just inside the box to make it 1-0. The goal allowed for WashU was its first since Oct. 18, a span of eight games.

The Falcons had a 10-5 shot advantage in the opening 45 minutes, with each team registering three shots on goal.

Messiah nearly made it a two-goal game in the 53rd minute after a shot by Biener was tracking for the back of the net, but freshman Darcy Cunningham headed the ball off the line.

With tired legs in the Messiah back line, the Bears got the equalizer in the 74th minute when Chandler took a pass from Renken and slid a left-footed shot from 10 yards out past Larson. The goal for Chandler was her eighth of the season, and just the fourth allowed this season by Messiah.

"When you are down, you have to keep fighting and put opportunities in the mix," Chandler said. "We started pressing hard in the final 25 minutes, and got a goal out of it."

Crist came up with the biggest save of her career in the first overtime, stopping a shot by Nikki Elsaesser in the 97th minute to keep it tied. That was the lone shot on goal during the 20 minutes of extra time.

BEAR NOTEBOOK: Messiah and WashU met for the second time in school history … The Bears are 7-1-1 against ranked teams in 2015 … The Bears had a 13-5 advantage in fouls and were called for two yellow yards … There will be a campus-wide watch party at Ursa's on the South Forty for Saturday's national championship.