Wheaton (Illinois) won its second consecutive national title November 24, beating Messiah, 1-0, to claim the Division III Women’s Soccer Championship. The Thunder capped a perfect season at 27-0 and maintained its 45-game winning streak.
“To win two titles in a row, with everybody gunning for you and going undefeated is something special,” said head coach Pete Felske.
The game’s lone goal came late in the first half, as sophomore midfielder Jami Hermann picked up a loose ball inside the Messiah box and beat Falcons goalie Brindley Beckwith to the left.
Messiah’s best opportunity to even the score came in the 88th minute, as sophomore midfielder Emily Cope blasted a shot to the right of the Wheaton goal, but Thunder goalkeeper Kristen Eggert made a diving save to secure the victory — and the championship.
“I was focused pretty intensely on that ball,” Eggert said. “I knew that all of the girls around me had worked so hard to keep that zero on the scoreboard, so I really wanted to keep it as well.”
Eggert had five saves in the championship game and was an all-tournament selection for the second straight year. Joining Eggert on the all-tournament team were teammates Bethany Barton and Kelly Foltz, and Messiah’s Stef Rowe and Rachel Horning. Also earning accolades were Western Connecticut State’s Molly Desjarlais and Cassie Barbaresi and TCNJ’s Dana DiBruno and Briann McDonough.
Twin sisters Kari Klynstra (Wheaton) and Kacie Klynstra (Messiah) also earned all-tournament honors. The championship game was the first time the sisters had played against one another.
“Once you step on the field it’s just like any other game,” Kari Klynstra said on CSTV.com. “You’re just playing against another opponent, you’re with your team, but as soon as the games over, she’s still my sister first. We knew going into college that when we both picked schools with good soccer traditions that there was a chance we’d play each other and were both prepared for it.”
Messiah, which has advanced to the finals four straight years, suffered its only loss of 2007 in the championship game. The Falcons won the 2005 national title.
It was the 17th shutout of the season for Wheaton, which has now won three national championships in four seasons. The Thunder senior class finishes its career with a 97-6 overall record.
Western Conn. St. 0 0 — 0
Wheaton (Ill.) 1 2 — 3
First half: W — Libby Passiales (Sarah Richardson), 33:55.
Second half: W — Taryne Lee, 82:33; Jami Hermann (Erin Hodina), 85:17.
Shots: Western Conn. St. 4, Wheaton (Ill.) 19. Goalkeeper saves: Western Conn. St. 7 (Jenna Cappellieri 6, Team 1), Wheaton (Ill.) 1 (Kristin Eggert). Corner kicks: Western Conn. St. 1, Wheaton (Ill.) 3.
TCNJ 0 0 — 0
Messiah 1 1 — 2
First half: M — Joanna Haqq, 18:49.
Second half: M — Erin Hench, 63:00.
Shots: TCNJ 11, Messiah 15. Goalkeeper saves: TCNJ 6 (Jessica Clarke), Messiah 5 (Brindley Beckwith). Corner kicks: TCNJ 8, Messiah 1.
Wheaton (Ill.) 1 0 — 1
Messiah 0 0 — 0
First half: W — Jami Hermann, 42:50.
Shots: Wheaton (Ill.) 18, Messiah 9. Goalkeeper saves: Wheaton (Ill.) 5 (Kristin Eggert), Messiah 6 (Brindley Beckwith). Corner kicks: Wheaton (Ill.) 9, Messiah 4.