For the first time in team history, the Fighting Scots women’s soccer team advanced past the first round of the NCAA tournament, defeating Case Western Reserve University on Friday at Joe Bean Sta- dium in Wheaton, Ill. After the teams finished regulation in a scoreless tie, a pair of over- time periods also went without a goal. It was a shootout that finally decided the result, with Wooster making four kicks over the Spartans’ three.
The Scots went in knowing that they were in for a chal- lenge, but continued to lean on their defense, which has been a strength all season long. “We knew the size of the task in front of us with a very ath- letic and skillful Case West- ern team, who were ranked ahead of us in the region and 21st in the nation,” said Head Coach Geordie Brown. “As we have all season, we asked the defense to keep us in the game and give us the chance to win it at the other end, which they did.”
Case Western fired off 26 shots on goal compared to Wooster’s seven, but the Scots’ defense was able to stop all of them. This earned the defensive players praise from their coach, particularly goalie Mol- ly Hutter ’21, who went 11 for 11 in saves.
“Molly and the back four [de- fenders] were tremendous,” Brown said. “The work rate in midfield and upfront was terrific, and we managed to keep our nerve in the shootout. We are so proud of this group and the culture they have created.”
While the Scots’ defense was a crucial factor in their victory, they also could not have done it without shootout heroics from their offensive players. After the Spartans’ Kimberly Chen ’20 made the first penalty kick for a 1-0 Case Western lead, Alexa Bencic ’22 responded with the first Wooster point to even the score. A kick by Anika Washburn ’22 gave Case Western the lead, but once again the Scots answered, this time with a shot from Brie Jarrell ’21. The pattern continued, as Jo- hanna Dunkers ’23 briefly gave the Spartans the lead back. Mackenzie Goltz ’20, however, would quickly respond to tie the shootout score at three. Case Western finally missed a penalty kick for the first time, and the Scots took advantage with a shot from Mila Zunich ’21 that gave them their first lead of the day. When the Spartans missed their final at- tempt to tie the score, Wooster emerged victorious, making team history by outlasting Case Western in a battle of defenses and wills.
Coming off the high of this triumph, the Scots ran out of gas the following day, falling 1-0 to Wheaton College in the second round of the playoffs. The defense once again shined, but a goal from Wheaton’s Jen- sen Ellis ’22 was the difference maker as Wooster’s run came to an end. Overall, it was a highly successful season for the Scots; they finished with a 14-3-4 re- cord, including streaks of four and five consecutive wins, and went undefeated in their home stadium. Despite the upcoming graduation of multiple seniors, the team appears set to continue thriving in 2020.