Game-winning goal sends women’s soccer to playoffs

Members of the women’s soccer team dressed up for “Tacky Tuesday” in celebration of their win. (Rehana Omardeen for The Phoenix)

The Swarthmore women’s soccer team spent an entire season playing close games – winning nailbiters, losing heartbreakers, bending but ultimately never breaking. Sitting just above .500 weeks ago, the Garnet ended the season on a tear, winning five straight en route to the third seed in the 2011 Centennial Conference playoffs.

Postponed twice by snowy weather, Swarthmore finished the regular season on a high note, besting rival Haverford on Monday evening by a 2-1 score in a classic down-to-the-wire match. Alexa Ross ’13 opened the scoring in the 8th minute with her first goal of the season, but the Garnet were held off the scoreboard for the rest of the first half and much of the second. With just over ten minutes to play, Haverford’s Sarah Andrade scored her third of the year to tie the game at one – however, Swarthmore refused to give up the momentum, as first-year star Emma Sindelar ’15 netted her eleventh goal of the season for the game winner with five minutes on the clock.

“For all practical purposes, this was a playoff match in our minds,” said head coach Todd Anckaitis.
“We knew that one goal may not stand up, [but] my team responded incredibly well…[we] played smart in the final two or three minutes to finish out the game and not give them another chance to get momentum back. That’s what the playoffs are like.”

“It was very exciting to beat Haverford. That’s a huge rivalry, and to do it for our senior year was really special,” said Hannah Deming ’12, who played the last regular-season match of her career on Monday.

For the Garnet, the playoffs begin on Saturday. The team will travel to tournament host Johns Hopkins to take on the second-seeded Gettysburg Bullets in a semifinal match. A 3-2 overtime loss to the Bullets on October 9 was the last defeat the Garnet suffered during the regular season.

Amber Famigletti ’14 expects the team to learn from past mistakes.

“When we played them the last time, we came out slow and didn’t have a great first half,” said Famigletti, whose four goals and ten points rank third on the team.

“In the second half we came out a lot better…We had an unfortunate mistake in overtime and they scored. The sting from that game is close to us, [and] we need to come out really strong in the first half like we didn’t last time.”

Like most of the season, Swarthmore will be relying on key players to come up in big spots in the playoffs. Sindelar’s eleven goals rank third on the all-time single season list, and her 25 points put her fourth in program history. Megan Brock ’14 started every game this season and put up admirable offensive numbers, second to Sindelar in most categories.

Ari Spiegel ’13 has provided stalwart defense all year and was honored with the Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week Award in the final week of the season. Goalie Marie Mutryn ’12 recorded an impressive 1.07 GAA in 16 starts.

“Playoffs often come down to which team will fight to the very end, pretty soccer or not. We showed ourselves on Monday that we can do just that and are excited about the opportunity to play this weekend,” said Brock, who will see the first postseason action of her career.
“We know we can compete with any team in the conference and are hoping to show that as we head into the semifinal.”

The Championship tournament kicked off on Wednesday, as #4 Haverford defeated #5 Franklin & Marshall 3-0 in the first round.

The Fords will play first-seed Johns Hopkins on Saturday afternoon before the Garnet face Gettysburg at 7:00.

The final is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.

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