BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – As the song “Sweet Home Alabama” played over the public address system announcing the Tigers next destination; the No. 12 seeded Olivet Nazarene University women’s soccer team celebrated their 2-1 win over Viterbo University (Wis.) in the Opening Round of the 29th NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship on Saturday, Nov. 17. The win advanced the Tigers to the final site in Orange Beach, Ala. to play in the final field of 16 teams.
The Tiger defense was nearly unbreakable again as they held the V-Hawks to just four shots, two on-goal. Viterbo’s Molly Machometa, who entered the game ranked second in goals scored in the NAIA was shut down by the Tigers as she didn’t get a single shot off on the day. Only three V-Hawks attempted shots.
Olivet (17-3) dominated possession of the ball most of the game. The Tigers who play a more spread offense, which is evidenced by the fact that 20 players entered game with at least one goal on the season, was much harder to defend. In typical Tiger fashion, 11 players attempted shots in the game and nine had shots-on-goal.
Freshman Elisabeth Wahl (Homer Glen, Ill.) got Olivet on the board first on an unassisted goal at the 29:52 mark. The goal was her 10th on the season, making her the first Tiger to score in double digits this year.
Viterbo (15-3-1) tied the game up just eight minutes into the second half when freshman Courtney Morgan netted a pass from senior Lauren Neet. The goal was the first allowed by senior goal keeper Wendy Espejel (Ontraio, Cal.) since Sept. 13.
Strong defense by both teams kept the score tied at 1-1 until the 68.47 mark when senior Emma Reutter (Mason, Mich.) found the net and put the Tigers on top for good. Olivet was able to control the ball the rest of the game and run the clock down for the win.
The victory advances the Tigers to the final site of the NAIA National Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala. where the national champion will be decided. Olivet will take on the host, No. 5 seeded University of Mobile on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 6:30 p.m.