For the second year in a row, the Carnegie Mellon women?s soccer team ended its season by winning the ECAC Southern Region championship. After receiving a first round bye, the team went on to defeat Penn State Behrend in the semifinals and tournament host Johns Hopkins in the finals. The hero for the Tartans was junior forward Hallie Dumont, who logged two game-winning goals and was named the tournament?s Most Outstanding Player.
On Friday, in a rematch of a regular season match-up that Carnegie Mellon took 3?0, the Tartans clashed with the Bears of Penn State Behrend and defeated them by a final score of 1?0. The game?s only goal came as first-year forward Kasey Stever?s forceful shot ricocheted off the post, allowing Dumont to hit it into the back of the net for her first goal of the tournament. In the other semifinal, Johns Hopkins defeated Gwynedd-Mercy 1?0, to ensure that the Tartans would have to beat the home squad in order to defend their title.
Yesterday, Carnegie Mellon defeated former University Athletic Association (UAA) rival Johns Hopkins 1?0. With just over seven minutes remaining in the first half, sophomore midfielder Lisa Pascoli fed the ball to Dumont, whose 25-yard volley beat the Blue Jays? goalkeeper and proved to be the game-winner. The Tartans showed relentless pressure in the first half, but could not extend their lead. Johns Hopkins came close to tying the game several times in the second half, but the Blue Jays were thwarted by Carnegie Mellon?s strong defense and stellar play from senior goalkeeper Megan Monroe, whose two tournament shutouts bring her total to thirteen for the year.
Although the Tartans could not creep into the top 25 or NCAA tournament this year, their ECAC win solidified their standing as a regional powerhouse. They finished the regular season ranked 27th nationally among Division III schools. However, many teams that were ranked higher played far weaker schedules. As a mark of the UAA?s strength, the three teams that finished ahead of the Tartans ? Chicago, Washington, and Emory ? all advanced to the NCAA tournament, with Chicago and Washington advancing to the Sectional (third) Round. The Tartans hope that they have reversed a lack of respect for the team by having such a strong showing this season.
?We established ourselves as a good team this year,? said senior midfielder Amy Tsao. ?In pre-season polls, they had us finishing in the bottom half of the UAA, but we finished in the top half. We?ve gained respect this year.?
Junior defender Margaret Beck said, ?We?re disappointed about not making NCAAs, but we?re looking forward to a better season next year.?
This season also saw immediate impact from the team?s talented first-year players. Stever was a menace to other teams? defenders all season, logging five goals on the year. First-year defender Amanda Rose led the team in assists, and was part of a stingy defense which became a trademark of the team over the course of the season.
?We had a great season, even though we had problems scoring,? said Monroe. ?Since we?re only losing one starter, we should be in good position for next year.?
An unprecedented six Tartans were given all-conference honors by the UAA this year. Dumont, Monroe, Pascoli, and junior back Mollie Salpeter were named to the all-UAA second team, while Rose and junior midfielder Nadya Yaghoubi received honorable mentions.