NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A Final Four berth in the NCAA Division III women’s soccer playoffs is on the line Sunday afternoon when unbeaten Christopher Newport, the reigning national champion, hosts Virginia Wesleyan in a 3 p.m. clash.
The No. 3 Captains, unbeaten in 44 straight matches, are coming off a 1-0 win Saturday against Trinity (21-1-2), as fifth-year senior Emily Talotta put a 30-yard arcing shot over the goalkeeper for the game’s only tally. It was just the fourth goal allowed by Trinity all season.
The win was the second straight for Christopher Newport (19-0-2) over Trinity in the round-of-16 as chances were few for either team, as the Captains held one of the best offenses in the country to just three shots-on-goal, thanks to strong defending from Jill McDonald, Re Slater, Nyah Savage and Sarah Rhiel, as well as Jackie Stallard late in the contest. It was their 15th shutout of the season.
Molly Beegle (Norfolk Collegiate, Norfolk, Va.) had the Captains’ first shot on goal in the first half, but Trinity’s goalkeeper made the save.
On Christopher Newport’s goal, Kulik and Molly Seventko put high pressure on Trinity’s defense off a short goal kick, forcing a back pass to the goalkeeper that had to be rushed. Talotta challenged the 50-50 ball and, taking one touch past a defender, took advantage of a clear look at goal to knock the ball into the net.
Christopher Newport also had just three shots-on-goal, but made one of its count.
Virginia Wesleyan (18-2-3) reached the Elite 8 for the first time since 2006 and the third time in program history with a 2-1 win over Wisconsin-LaCrosse (21-2-1).
The Marlins got on the board in the 17th minute, as Shyenne Diaz (Landstown HS, Virginia Rush, Virginia Beach, Va.) took a through-ball from Alexis Miller to score her 13th goal of the season.
Thirteen minutes later, senior defender Sam Crawford scored her first collegiate goal, taking a Olivia Bryant corner kick and scoring.
Wisconsin-LaCrosse pulled a goal back in the 59th minute, but the Marlins held on for the next 30-plus minutes to secure the win.
Christopher Newport and Virginia Wesleyan played each other earlier this season, with the Captains taking a 2-1 win in Virginia Beach.
Live stats and a live video webcast from Sunday’s matchup will be available at CNUsports.com.