Courtesy of RITathletics.com
GENEVA, NY — The No. 3 seed RIT (11-5-3) women’s soccer team was defeated by top-seed William Smith College (14-3-3), 1-0 Sunday in the Liberty League Championship. The Herons scored in the second 62nd minute to win their 12th straight league title and earn the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Julia Keogh scored for William Smith off an assist from Megan Berwick. Berwick sent a service into the RIT penalty box. Keogh, who made the run down the channel to the net, one-timed a shot home to give the Herons the lead.
Shots were 14-6 in favor of William Smith, who is ranked tenth in the nation. The Tigers fired two shots on target to seven for the Herons. Alyssa Salls (Plattsburgh, NY/Plattsburgh) finished with six saves in net for RIT, while Veronica Romines made two saves for William Smith.
The Herons controlled much of the play in the first half, firing four shots on target. Salls came with to huge saves in the closing seconds of the half. Amanda Adams dribbled her way into the RIT penalty box as the clock was winding down to halftime. She fired a shot on goal that Salls sprawled to stop. Janne Knieke had a shot off the rebound, but Salls got to her feet quickly and made the save to keep the game scoreless.
Rachel Strader (Seneca, SC/Seneca) had a chance for RIT with 1:30 remaining in the opening half. Her shot from 20 yards out was just wide of the William Smith post.
RIT kept fighting in the second half, controlling play for periods and giving the Herons fits. Emily Thiel (Seattle, WA/Roosevelt) had a chance in the 54th minute when she fired a hard shot from 15 yards out that Maialen Martinez blocked away.
The Herons took advantage of a miscue by RIT, leading to the Herons goal. The Tigers kept grinding away, getting a chance with 16:30 to play. Piper Zimmerman (Sellersville, PA/Pennridge) got free on the flank and fired a shot that just missed the crossbar.
“I have so much respect for our team,” said RIT head coach Liz Masterson. “Playing three NCAA-caliber teams in six days is very difficult, but we played like we had no fatigue. This team gets tougher, closer and stronger by the day.”
RIT, ranked second in the East region coming into the weekend, awaits a possible at-large berth into the 2018 NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship. The selection show will be Monday, Nov. 5 at 1:30 p.m. at www.ncaa.com.