By: B.J. Pheasant, Assistant Soccer Coach
(CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky.) – The fourth-ranked and top-seeded Thomas More College women's soccer team hosted the President's Athletics Conference (PAC) Championship Tournaments' championship match on Saturday, November 5th against third seed Grove City College. With the 1-0 final score line the Saints improve to 20-0-1 overall and earn the PAC automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. With the loss Grove City College falls to 15-5.
"It was a great team performance against a good opponent," said TMC head coach Jeff Cummings. "Despite the adversity we have faced this season the team put together a 90 minute game. We played well defensively and created enough chances."
The Saints resisted a bit of pressure to start the game and gradually exerted control of the match. In the 15th minute Emily Cummings (Cincinnati, Ohio/Glen Este) received a corner kick and put in a splendiferous cross that Erika LaRosa (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) nodded home with aplomb for a 1-0 lead. Two minutes later a free kick by Cumings to the back post was met by Taylor Robinson (Alexandria, Ky./Campbell County) and sent just wide. In the 29th minute a series of passes by LaRosa and Laura Felix (Burlington, Ky./St. Henry) resulted in a chance by Lauren Rose (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) just wide.
In the 61st minute a pass through the gap I the defense by LaRosa sprung Megan Sheridan (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills) down the wing. Her resulting shot was spilled across the face of goal by the goal keeper, but a defender cleared it away just in time.
In the 65th minute LaRosa would have had the goal of the year off a great turn-and-shot, but it rattled the crossbar. In the 68th minute Rose put a shot just over the bar. It wasn't all offense as Megan Barton (Florence, Ky./Villa Madonna) earned her 17th individual shutout of the year, setting a new school record (Barton with 14 shutouts in the 2015 season), by stopping a 1v1 shot in the 75th minute. In the 88th she put in a full extension dive to parry away a shot and make the 1-0 score line stand up.
The 2016 final is the fifth consecutive final that Thomas More and Grove City College have met. With the automatic qualifying bid Thomas More women's soccer will be in the NCAA tournament for the seventh time and its sixth consecutive appearance.
The NCAA will announce its tournament field and opening round match ups for the Division III Women's Soccer Championship Tournament on Monday, November 7th at 1:30pm. Access to the live selection show can be found at www.ncaa.com/liveschedule.