The University of Missouri-St. Louis women’s soccer team pulled off its biggest win of the season Friday night in Louisville, Ky., and have now put themselves in position to get an even bigger win on Sunday. That’s because fourth-seeded UMSL took down top-seeded Bellarmine, 2-1 Friday night at Bellarmine’s Frazier Stadium, in the GLVC Tournament semifinals to advance to Sunday’s GLVC Championship Game against No. 2 seed Truman State.
“I thought we played a very aggressive game and really picked it up in the second half,” UMSL head coach Wendy Dillinger said in a statement released by the UMSL sports information department. “We knew coming in that we would have to press Bellarmine and make them make mistakes, and I thought our back four did an excellent job defensively in doing that.”
The key play in the game came with just over 20 minutes left, when UMSL senior Cassie McFadden drilled a shot past Bellarmine goalkeeper Hannah Poteet from approximately 40 yards out to give the Tritons a 2-1 lead. It was just McFadden’s second goal of the season, but it came on a shot she practices daily, and with successful execution, turned out to be UMSL’s biggest goal of 2015.
“We were being pressured hard quite a bit tonight, but I saw a gap and thought why not try it,” McFadden said of her game-winning shot. “I hit it with my left foot, which isn’t my strong foot, but I practice with both legs and am comfortable enough taking that shot either way.”
From that point on, UMSL turned up the defense and did its best to not allow Bellarmine any legitimate scoring chances the rest of the game. The Knights did get one chance though, about five minutes after McFadden’s goal, when they executed a nifty passing play that resulted in a wicked shot on goal by junior Lauren Holder.
Fortunately for UMSL, senior goalkeeper Megan Ohm was in the right place at the right time to knock the ball away and keep the Knights from tying the score. Ohm made a similar play in the first half, when she made a sprawling save against GLVC Offensive Player of the Year Beth Gorham to keep the score tied at the time at 1.
UMSL got on the board less than five minutes in on a goal by freshman McKayla Harder, who headed home a crossing pass by teammate Jaylon Griffith. Senior Sidney Allen was also credited with an assist, her team-leading ninth assist of the season, for initiating the play that ended with Harder’s 10th goal of the season.
The victory raised UMSL’s overall record to 12-3-4, and gave the Tritons their fifth trip to the GLVC Championship Game. UMSL is 0-4 in its previous four appearances in the title game.
This time, the Tritons will face Truman State (13-2-5) for the championship. UMSL lost a 1-0 decision to the Bulldogs in the Tritons’ home opener back on September 13. Truman advanced to the title game by defeating No. 3 seed Quincy 4-3 on penalty kicks.
Sunday’s championship game is slated for an 11 a.m. start, and will be televised live on the GLVC Sports Network. The broadcast will also be streamed live through the GLVC’s official website at GLVCsports.com/watch.