Crusaders Repeat as OAC Tournament Champions

Crusaders Repeat as OAC Tournament Champions

Coach Kouns interview
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Capital University women's soccer team earned its second straight Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament Championship by defeating Baldwin Wallace University, 4-1, on Saturday afternoon at Bernlohr Stadium. The Crusaders have earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Tournament, which will begin next week.


The Crusaders have now won back-to-back OAC Tournament Championships and have earned three such titles over the last four years. They will learn their NCAA Tournament fate at 1 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 10, when the selection show is aired on NCAA.com. Click here for the site where the selection show will be aired.

This is probably the most well-deserved [championship] that I have enjoyed as a coach because it truly took an entire team to achieve it," said head coach Chris Kouns. "We did not have one outstanding player this season. We had a number of people step up when their number was called and helped us achieve this title and a trip back to nationals."

The win was achieved after the Crusaders scored two early goals and added a third before the close of the first half. That commanding lead was sustained by a staunch defense that refused to allow quality opportunities to the Yellow Jackets and was supplemented by junior goalkeeper Kim Leitch (Rocky River, Ohio), who made three saves in a winning effort.

Freshman Shelby Johnson (Brentwood, Calif.) continued her recent tear of success going by scoring two more goals in the victory. Her first was also the team's first, scored in the third minute of the contest. Claire Quinn (Coto de Caza, Calif.) created the opportunity by causing a turnover at midfield and then played it forward to Johnson. With a nice touch forward, Johnson turned the corner and struck to the ball to the lower left corner of the cage to put Capital up 1-0.

Junior Morgan Austin (Jeromesville, Ohio) helped double up the lead with a goal just 1:31 after the opening score. Becca Cartmill took the ball into Yellow Jacket territory and sent a cross-field pass to Austin near the far sideline. Austin then launched a long-range shot from inside the end line that beat BW goalkeeper Emily Tallmadge. The goal was Austin's first of the season.

With all the momentum on their side, Capital kept pushing its offensive will on Baldwin Wallace. Quinn and Cartmill put shots on frame in succession, but both were saved. The continued pressure finally paid off with a third goal, this time scored by Mary Bushee (San Marcos, Calif.). Bushee's goal was an easy tap-in effort after receiving a cross pass from Amanda Kachaylo.  The goal was Bushee's sixth of the year, and notched in the 27th minute to make the Capital lead, 3-0.

Johnson added her second goal of the match in the 68th minute when she one-touched a well-placed pass from Emily Krause into the Yellow Jackets' net.

With that goal, Johnson has now scored four goals in the last three games and five in as many matches. She has now moved into a tie with Cartmill for the team lead with eight goals.

Capital's only blemish came in the 69th minute when Alex Elliot scored her ninth goal of the season, but it did nothing more than take away the chance at a shutout. The game was well in hand by this point and the entire roster was rewarded with playing time, allowing them to relish in the win.

Head coach Chris Kouns

"I am so proud for this group," said Kouns. "As soon as we fell in the Final Four last year, we began hearing how we would not be able to overcome the loss of a highly successful senior class and win another championship this year. However, to the credit of our four captains [Mariah Richards, Maura Fortino, Ashleigh Schmittle , Claire Quinn] they helped guide the returning players and brought along the newcomers to do just that." 

Under Kouns, the Crusaders are now 8-1 in OAC Tournament games with three championship trophies to show for it. They will head into the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 16-5-2 and attempt to match last year's magical journey that took the team into the national semi-final round.

Said Kouns of the importance of this victory, "This win enables our student-athletes to do something truly special and join only 63 other teams with an opportunity to become a national champion."

 

Watch the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Tournament Selection Show, Monday, Nov. 10 -- 1 p.m.