The William Smith College soccer team scored in the seventh minute to defeat Capital University 1-0 in an NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer National Semifinal match on Friday in San Antonio, Texas. It’s the first time the Herons have advanced to the national championship game since 1997.
The Herons will take on the winner of the other national semifinal match between No. 2 Trinity (Texas) and No. 13 Middlebury which started at 2:30 p.m. EST on Friday. The national championship match will be played on Toyota Field at 2:30 p.m. EST.
William Smith extended its win streak to 22 matches, a new school record for wins in a season. The Herons have posted 15 straight shutouts and have now earned a William Smith season record 20 shutouts this year.
This will be the fourth time the Herons have played in the national championship match in program history. William Smith has played in three national championship games (1987, 1988, 1997), winning the school’s first team national championship in 1988.
Junior Krista Longo put William Smith on the scoreboard just 6:52 into the match. First-year Kara Shue pushed a pass from the left corner to find Longo out in front. It was the first Heron goal in the NCAA championship round since Ann Haggerty scored the game-winning goal in the 1988 national championship match. It was Longo’s seventh goal this season, and Shue’s team-leading 10th assist this year.
The Herons came close to scoring again with about a minute remaining in the first half. First-year Shay Callahan broke through for a shot that went inches wide of the far right post. With less than 10 seconds remaining before the break, junior Caitlyn Mitchell got her head on the ball, but it sailed wide right of the goal.
Longo came close to striking again. With about 6:50 left in the match, she took a pass from junior MaryClaire Pelletier and fired a high shot on goal. Capital goalie Maggie Donnellan reached up to make the save, but dropped the ball and it almost fell over the goal line. Donnellan recovered, however, to collect the ball for the save. She finished with seven saves in all 90 minutes in goal for Capital.
Senior goalie Chelsea Dunay played all 90 minutes and finished with four saves. Dunay holds the William Smith record for shutouts in a season with 17 and wins in a season with 22.
The Herons finished with a 30-8 advantage in shots and an 8-1 lead in corners.