The William Smith College soccer team secured its seventh straight Liberty League tournament championship with a 1-0 win over RIT in the championship match played Saturday on Cozzens Field. The Herons, who are ranked No. 3 in the nation, notched their 17th straight victory to improve to 17-1-0 overall.
The Tigers, who are ranked No. 24 in the country, are now 12-4-3 overall. William Smith earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The brackets will be released with a selection show on NCAA.com at 1:30 p.m., on Monday, Nov. 11.
The win was the 10th straight shutout for the Herons and their 15th overall clean sheet. Senior goalie Chelsea Dunay played all 90 minutes in goal and finished with two saves to secure her 13th shutout and earn a spot on the Liberty League All-Tournament team. William Smith put six total on the all-tournament squad, joining Dunay, were junior Caitlyn Mitchell, junior Dineo Mmutla, who was tabbed the tournament’s MVP, first-year MacKenzie Smith, junior Brenna Kincaid and senior Olivia Zitoli. Caitlyn Daily, Amanda Murray, Jamie Martinez, Ehlana Gray and Kiana Richards represented the Tigers on the all-tournament team.
The Herons broke through for what proved to be the game-winning goal in the 40th minute. William Smith earned a corner kick, which Smith lofted into the box. Mitchell, who came off the bench seconds before, headed the ball into the back of the net for her third goal this season.
The Tigers had their best scoring chance just 5:25 in. After an RIT corner, Quincey Ornellas blasted a shot on goal. Dunay jumped up to punch the ball just over the crossbar.
William Smith came inches away from scoring a second goal on a few occasions in the second half.
First-year Evie Manning fired a shot on goal in the 77th minute. The RIT goalie, Amanda Murray, leaped to just get a piece of the ball and it banged off the crossbar. Then in the 87th minute, first-year Kara Shue took a shot that Murray thought was going wide right, but it bounced off the right post and looked like it was about the cross the goal line as Murray recovered to dive on top of it.
RIT had a chance to score late in the match. With 2:03 remaining, Shelby Vakiener drilled a shot from about 25 yards out the bounced on goal, but Dunay stepped up to punch it away.
The Herons limited the Tigers to just one shot in the second half, out-shooting RIT 19-4 in the match. The Tigers held a 4-3 edge in corners. Murray finished with seven saves in 90 minutes in goal for RIT.