SAN ANTONIO — The hometown Trinity Tigers had the support of a large contingent of students, faculty, staff members, cheerleaders and a band Friday at the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer national semifinals at Toyota Field.
Trinity did not disappoint the faithful as the Tigers beat the Middlebury Panthers 2-1 and advanced to their first championship game in the women’s program history, The Tigers (25-0-2) will take on William Smith, which shut out Capital 1-0 earlier in the day, at 2:30 p.m.
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Lance Key. a former Tiger men’s All-American and Major League Soccer player, has been at Trinity’s helm for 10 years. He was an assistant on three Tigers men’s team which captured the 2003 title under Paul McGinlay.
“It’s been a long road,” Key said. “A lot of good players have come through. Some of whom were here [Friday], and many were watching around the country. We are very grateful to be here, and it’s taken a lot of hard work. There is such a resiliency in this group. They came from behind in a number of games we have played this season. They just continue to push through it.”
Trinity made two previous trips to the semifinals, in 2000 and 2002.
The game-winner for the Tigers came in the 51st minute as first-year forward Hannah Hommel scored on assists from sophomore midfielder Kimberly Polasek and junior All-America midfielder Kelsey Falcone.
Senior midfielder Michelle Lanier lit up the board first for the Tigers, in the 19th minute of play, as junior All-America midfielder Emily Jorgens supplied the assist. Jorgens, the Capital One Academic All-American of the Year, tied the NCAA Division III single-season record with her 30th assist.
“We are cherishing every moment,” Jorgens said. “The team has come together for the championship. In the first half we were forcing passes a lot. In the second half, we settled down and started to play our game. We were so excited and so blessed that they [the fans] came out to support us. Their cheering really helped our team get pumped up.”
Middlebury senior forward Scarlett Kirk evened the game at 1-1 with a goal in the 34th minute, on assists from sophomore midfielder Hannah Robinson and freshman forward Adrianna Gildner.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my players,” Panthers coach Peter Kim said. “We were down early and then came back to tie it up before halftime. They [Trinity] are a great team, and have a lot of skill. They were able to disrupt us more than other teams were.”
Tiger junior goalkeeper Devan Osegueda recorded five saves, and Panther senior All-American Elizabeth Foody had two.
Trinity posted 16 total shots, with four on goal, while Middlebury had 10 shots, and one on goal.
The men’s and women’s semifinals and finals are being co-hosted by Trinity and San Antonio Sports for the fifth consecutive year.