The No. 2 William Smith soccer team won its fifth straight Liberty League tournament championship title, defeating Skidmore 3-0 in a match played on Cozzens Field this afternoon. The Herons posted their 15th shutout of the season and have earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
William Smith, who has advanced to the Liberty League tournament championship game every year since the tournament’s start in 2002, improves to 16-0-1 and picked up its 13th straight victory. Skidmore’s overall record is now 13-6-0.
Just 1:21 into the game the Tarantino sisters put William Smith up 1-0. After a corner kick taken by junior Renee Jensen, senior Sarah Tarantino settled the ball, and pushed a pass to senior Jessie Tarantino who was waiting on the left post. Jessie knocked the ball right into the left corner of the goal for her first tally this season.
In the 57th minute, Jensen scored a goal of her own to make it 2-0. Jensen took a corner kick that was deflected by Skidmore’s goalie Meghan Sleezer, but found its way into the back of the net. It was Jensen’s third goal this fall.
Skidmore had its best scoring chance in the 65th minute. Abby Benton carried the ball into the box, as she dribbled ahead it deflected off a Heron defender. Senior goalie Amanda Davis dove out to grab the ball, but could not keep control of it. Benton was there to take it back and fire a shot on goal, but senior Alyse DiCenzo, the tournament MVP, was alone in front of the goal and knocked it away to preserve the William Smith shutout.
In the 79th minute the Herons again capitalized on a corner kick opportunity. Jensen put the ball in play. First-year Brenna Kincaid collected it at the top of the box and placed a shot into the top right corner of the goal just out of Sleezer’s reach.
The Herons held a 20-1 advantage in shots and a 9-1 lead in corner kicks. Davis played the opening 84:48 in goal for William Smith, and sophomore Chelsea Dunay came in to play the final 5:12. Sleezer finished with seven saves, including a few diving stops, in all 90 minutes in goal for the Thoroughbreds.
The 2011 NCAA Tournament brackets will be announced on Monday, Nov. 7.