Johnson’s Goal Sends Crusaders to OAC Championship, Will Host Baldwin Wallace

Johnson’s Goal Sends Crusaders to OAC Championship, Will Host Baldwin Wallace

ADA, Ohio – For the third time in four years the Capital Crusaders women's soccer team will play in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament championship match. The Crusaders advanced to the final round after defeating the Ohio Northern Polar Bears, 1-0, on Thursday afternoon.

Freshman Shelby Johnson (Brentwood, Calif.) came through for the second straight match by hitting the game-winning goal in the 72nd minute of regulation. After reacquiring the ball, the Crusaders played it forward and behind the Polar Bear defense. As was the case in their semi-final match against John Carroll, Johnson rose to the occasion and put a boot on it from outside the 18 and wedged inside the far post for the goal.

The goal served as Johnson's sixth of the season and went unassisted.

"I am absolutely thrilled for our kids," said head coach Chris Kouns. "What warriors. They fought on the road, through a hostile environment, and tough weather and created more than our fair share of opportunities to win. We ended up putting pressure on them and we knew we would get an opportunity behind. Yet again, Shelby [Johnson] put the ball away when she needed to."

It took nearly 13 minutes from the time of the Capital goal for Ohio Northern (10-7-2 overall) to get its next shot attempt off, and the pressure put forth by the Crusaders defense never allowed any of its remaining chances to land on frame.

Despite the fact that the Polar Bears outshot the Crusaders, 14-7, Kim Leitch (Rocky River, Ohio) kept the cage clean with five saves in the win.

Ohio Northern did have its opportunities to score, though fell short of doing so. Coming out of halftime, the Polar Bears nearly took the lead but Rachel Weigman's shot attempt hit the crossbar and bounced back into play.

"It was an amazing back-and-forth battle," said Kouns. "It was exactly what you expect out of two of the top teams in the OAC. They [ONU] deserve to be congratulated for the fight."

Capital (15-5-1 overall) will play No. 4 Baldwin Wallace University, who defeated No. 1 Otterbein University, 2-1, late Thursday night. With Capital being the highest remaining seed in the tournament, they will host the OAC Championship game. That match will be played on Sunday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. inside Bernlohr Stadium.

"We're extremely excited about the opportunity to play in yet another OAC final," said Kouns. "This will be the third in four years and that is something we as a team are definitely proud of."

Capital began its strong run in the OAC Tournament with its first of three conference tournament championships in 2011 by running the table with three wins by a combined score of 9-3. They also won the tournament championship last year as part of their run to the NCAA Division III National Semifinals.