Lord, Williams win national title
The Ephs dispatched the University of Chicago on Saturday to claim their second national title in program history, topping the Maroons 1-0 at the UNC Greensboro Soccer Stadium on a Natasha Albaneze goal and some stellar goalkeeping work by Olivia Barnhill.
Albaneze broke the deadlock in the 57th minute, getting on the end of a chipped pass from Natalie Turner-Wyatt before putting her shot around Miranda Malone.
Barnhill, meanwhile, was up to the task throughout. The junior goalie made six saves in the contest to keep the clean sheet. In the 50th minute, Barnhill came up with a big one-on-one save to deny Madori Spiker after some nifty play by the Maroons freed the forward. In the 61st, Barnhill denied Spiker again. On the play, Spiker managed to get around a Williams defender to get a clean look, but Barnhill saved the point-blank effort and corralled the rebound before a Maroon could get to it.
Barnhill was far from done, however. In the 72nd minute, Katie Jazminski got around the Eph defense, but Barnhill again made a one-on-one save to deny Chicago from finding the equalizer. The save produced a rebound, but Liz Webber and Sarah Kelly were able to clear before Mia Calamari was able to take a shot on the rebound opportunity.
The Maroons continued pushing for an equalizer as the game neared its conclusion, and with five minutes left Jasmiski flicked a Maddy DeVoe cross just over the crossbar.
Barnhill closed out the season with a shutout streak that reached 571 minutes and 44 seconds.
The winning goal was Albaneze's 10th of the season. The senior from Northport, N.Y., reached double figures on a sequence that started with a Danielle Sim pass to Turner-Wyatt. Turner-Wyatt then chose the air to send her pass to Albaneze, chipping it over the top of the defense. With only Malone, who entered the goal to start the second half, to beat, Albaneze made no mistakes to secure her team another national championship.
In the first half, Williams had chances to take an early lead. In the 22nd minute, Katie Donovan came up with a save at close range on Alison Lu, then in the 32nd Ilana Albert nearly set up the first goal on a cross. Her effort, though, was deflected away but Kristina Alvarado corralled the ball and sent a shot just over the top of the bar. Donovan stopped two shots in the first half, while Malone made one save in the second.
Burr and Burton grad and Williams freshman Georgia Lord played in both the semifinal and final, getting a shot attempt in each contest. Lord has been a part of two championship teams in consecutive seasons as she helped the BBA girls soccer team to a title in 2016.
With the win, the senior core of Jacqueline Simeone, Danielle Sim, Evan Gancedo, Natasha Albaneze, Kate Sands and Hanna Kaeser finish their Eph careers with an 82-5-6 record. They are the first Williams class to win 80 games in a four-year span, and the unit have been part of all three 20-win seasons in program history. They are the first class to advance to the D-III quarterfinals in all four years, and the first to advance to three Final Fours.
The Ephs finish as national champions with a 22-1-1 record, while Chicago ends the year at 22-2-0.
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