Senior Lily VanderStaay scored early in the first half and late in the second
NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- Lily VanderStaay (Sr./Bellingham, Wash./Bellingham) scored a pair of goals—including one less than two minutes into the match—as the Carleton College women’s soccer team posted a 3-0 victory over University of St. Thomas. The win clinched the Knights’ spot in the MIAC Playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
While Saint Benedict (8-1-1 MIAC) clinched a share of the regular-season crown with a victory this afternoon, the Knights (7-2-1 MIAC) still have a chance to be co-champions if they can secure a victory over St. Olaf in the regular-season finale on Saturday and Concordia defeats St. Ben’s.
“We played a complete game today,” said Carleton head coach Keren Gudeman. “We created so many dangerous chances from many areas on the field, finished some beautifully, and handled their attacking players with poise.”
To say the Knights dominated the run of play might be an understatement as Carleton enjoyed a 22-3 advantage in shots.
The Knights wasted little time grabbing the early lead. Niki Tomita (Sr./Redwood City, Calif./Woodside) dribbled through the St. Thomas defense, then delivered a short pass to VanderStaay, who tapped it home for the goal.
Carleton tacked on another score late in the first half following a flurry of activity in front of the St. Thomas goal. Following a cleared corner kick, the Tommies—who successfully employed the offsides trap several times in the contest—attempted to do so once again, however this time the strategy backfired.
Layne Teska (So./Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) served the ball over the backline. With the St. Thomas backline retreating from its goal, Carleton’s Abby Wills (Sr./Portland, Ore./St. Mary's) ran down the loose ball along the goal line and delivered a pass out front to Cassie Burke (Sr./Sunfish Lake, Minn./Minnehaha Academy), who unleashed a blast from five yards out.
Somehow, Tommie keeper Callan Faulkner managed to stop that shot. With St. Thomas still trying to re-group defensively, another powerful attack was also saved by Faulkner before Zoe Suche (Jr./Calgary, Alb./Western Canada) collected the loose ball and sent a laser into the back of the net for her second score in as many games.
Faulkner came up with several more impressive stops and registered nine saves—most of them in very impressive fashion—in the second half alone, as she did her best to keep the game from turning into a blowout.
In the 87th minute, VanderStaay sealed the victory. Showing no effects of a hamstring injury that limited her the last four matches, she out-raced the Tommie defense on a breakaway. When Faulkner came off her line to challenge, VanderStaay calmly slotted a shot inside the far post for her sixth goal of the year, tied for tops on the roster.
Compared to Faulkner, Carleton goalkeeper Beth Ashinsky (Jr./Mount Kisco, N.Y./Horace Greeley) had it relatively easy today as she had two saves and picked up her eighth shutout of the campaign and 17th of her career. Early in the second half, Ashinsky came up with a terrific sprawling stop off a free kick at the top of the box.
“I am very pleased with our quality of play. We've found our stride and can't wait to take the field again on Saturday,” said Gudeman.
Carleton will host rival St. Olaf College at 1 p.m. There will be a lot at stake for both teams in regards to the MIAC Playoff picture.
The Knights not only are looking for a chance—with some help—to share the regular-season title but are also trying to secure a home game in the opening round of the four-team tournament. St. Ben’s is already guaranteed the top seed, and Carleton could end up anywhere from second to fourth. Meanwhile, with a win and some help St. Olaf will get into the post-season as well. Knights Online will carry a live video webcast of the match.