National Collegiate Athletic Association
The NCAA News - News and Features
The NCAA News -- December 7, 1998
Macalester's overtime goal leads to school's first championship
Macalester claimed its first national championship in any sport when it won the Division III Women's Soccer Championship November 22 at Ithaca with a 1-0 overtime victory over College of New Jersey.
The Scots' senior forward Tawni Epperson scored the lone goal on a breakaway one minute into the fourth overtime period. The shot eluded Lions goalkeeper Victoria Nusse.
Before the score, Nusse, a freshman, had not allowed any goals for the season and had posted 10 shutouts for the Lions.
Epperson broke clear from a couple of defenders in her attempt on goal before running into traffic.
"Then, it broke free again, and I was wide open with the net and the goalkeeper," Epperson said. "I took another touch, and the goalkeeper totally had the right side blocked off because she was going to dive right, so I kicked it left. I was on the ground, and all these people were on me, and that's the last thing I remember. I don't even remember seeing it go in the net."
Macalester goaltender Anna Bacho, a junior, made five saves in the title game, posting her 15th shutout on the year and her ninth in the Scots' last 10 games.
Scots' coach John Leaney had not expected to win the title amid such tough competition. "I thought we were a good team," he said. "We were ranked No. 1 in the country, but we weren't the best team there. Well, I wouldn't say we weren't the best team there, but we play such excellent defense.
"There's no better team in the country at playing hard-nosed than us. They refuse to quit."
Macalester's first opportunity to take the lead occurred eight minutes into the game when Kate Ryan-Reiling's direct kick bounced off the crossbar. Ryan-Reiling took another scoring chance nine minutes later when her breakaway shot passed Nusse, but midfielder Colleen Caldwell knocked the ball out of bounds before it crossed the goal line. College of New Jersey missed an opportunity to score with 13 minutes remaining in regulation when defender Brianne Vazquez hit the crossbar on a direct kick.
Macalester, which ended the season with a 21-1-1 record, made its way to the championship match with a 1-0 victory over Willamette (18-1-4), giving the Bearcats their first loss of the season.
College of New Jersey advanced to the title game by beating host Ithaca, 2-0, in its semifinal. The Lions, who finished the year at 19-3-1, were seeking a third title.
Epperson and Nusse both were named to the all-tournament team. Macalester's Ryan-Reiling, a junior midfielder, was named the tournament's most outstanding offensive player. The Lions' Caldwell, a freshman, was tabbed as the most outstanding defensive player of the championship. Joining Caldwell and Nusse from the Lions were Vazquez and Traci Tapp. Other Macalester team members named to the all-tournament team were Ellen Dully and Holly Harris. Ithaca's Erin DeMarco and Jessica DiManno, along with Willamette's Dana Christopherson, Liz Heaston and Katie Edwards rounded out the all-tournament team.
Ithaca 0 0 -- 0
Col. of New Jersey 1 1 -- 2
First half: CNJ -- Traci Tapp (Tracy Mateyka), 17:06.
Second half: CNJ -- Denise Buckley (unassisted), 84:43.
Shots: Ithaca 3, Col. of New Jersey 9. Goalkeeper saves: Ithaca (Lindy West) 3; Col. of New Jersey (Victoria Nusse) 1. Corner kicks: Ithaca 4, Col. of New Jersey 9. Fouls: Ithaca 10, Col. of New Jersey 27.
Macalester 1 0 -- 0
Willamette 0 0 -- 0
First half: M -- Carly Androff (unassisted), 44:00.
Shots: Macalester 6, Willamette 7. Goalkeeper saves: Macalester (Anna Bacho) 1; Willamette (Robin Heard) 2. Corner kicks: Macalester 8, Willamette 10. Fouls: Macalester 6, Willamette 9.
Macalester 0 0 0 0 0 1 -- 1
Col. of New Jersey 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Overtime: M -- Tawni Epperson (unassisted), 84:43.
Shots: Macalester 15, Col. of New Jersey 15. Goalkeeper saves: Macalester (Anna Bacho) 5; Col. of New Jersey (Victoria Nusse) 9. Corner kicks: Macalester 8, Col. of New Jersey 17. Fouls: Macalester 20, Col. of New Jersey 22. Attendance: 250.