Wooster, Kenyon Square Off in NCAC Tournament Semifinals

Devin Frisby

This Week's Outlook:  The fourth-seeded College of Wooster women's soccer team qualified for the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time since 2012 and will travel to top-seeded Kenyon College for a semifinal matchup on Tuesday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. at Mavec Field in Gambier, Ohio.

Media Coverage:  Fans can follow Wooster's semifinal game through the available live stream and live stats web pages. Fans can also follow the women's soccer team's Twitter account @CoWWSoccer for live updates. 

A Look-Back at Last Week:  As recipients of Oct. 28's conference bye, the Fighting Scots defeated Allegheny College, 2-0, in the regular-season finale on Tuesday afternoon at Carl Dale Memorial Field in Wooster, Ohio. Sophomore Krenare Rakoci (Hoffman Estates, IL/Hoffman Estates) scored the game-winner in the 17th minute and followed up with an insurance tally from 25 yards out in the 71st. The victory put the Scots in 2nd place in the league standings and a game up on four remaining tournament contenders, including Kenyon who had already clinched the tournament's No. 1 seed. From there, Wooster had to wait until the conclusion of Saturday's games to determine who would remain as the top four team. The Gators' loss to Kenyon on Saturday sealed a fourth-place finish for Wooster.

Who are the Ladies?:  Kenyon comes in with an undefeated 7-0-1 record in conference play. Sophomore goalkeeper Jillian Countey leads the league in all three primary goalkeeping statistics – save percentage (.917), goals against (5), and goals-against average (0.32). In 15 starts, Countey is 9-3-2 with 10 shutouts on 167 shots faced. Offensively, Kenyon is averaging 1.18 goals on 14.5 shots per game. No stranger to close decisions, 10 of Kenyon's 17 games have been decided by one goal or less, including ties. This season, Kenyon played one match against a Div. III top-25 opponent as of Oct. 30 (Illinois Wesleyan University), and three more against regionally-ranked foes. Nine student-athletes have scored this year for the Ladies, led by senior Campbell Fee's five. First-year Samantha Hayes follows with four. The Ladies have made the tournament in each of the last four years, and eight times during head coach Kelly Bryan's 15-year tenure.

First Meeting:  The Ladies delivered Wooster its first home conference loss of the season with a 2-0 victory on Oct. 10. With the win, Kenyon moved to 2-0-1 in the conference and Wooster 2-2-0. Kenyon first-year Caroline McNeer and Fee scored unassisted in the 56th and 58th minutes, respectively. The Ladies outshot Wooster 21-11, including 16-3 in the second half. Wooster junior goalkeeper Maddy Ireton (Dublin, OH/Jerome) totaled seven saves while the Scots held the corner kick edge, 5-4.

Historically Speaking:  Wooster is 13-18-3 all-time against Kenyon and winless in their last five meetings, with the Scots' most recent victory coming at Kenyon in 2012 via a 1-0 shutout. Since 2012, the Ladies have outscored Wooster 11-6, with three of the five matches separated by one goal or less. 

Heating Up…:  In the last three games, Wooster is averaging 2.33 goals on 12.33 shots per game, with seven of Wooster's 21 total goals coming in that span. Of those seven, three were scored by defenders, including first-year Kylie Hawkins (Mason, OH/Mason), who scored her first two collegiate goals against Hiram College as part of a 3-2 come-from-behind road victory. In total, 11 different Scots have scored this season, the most of any NCAC Tournament team. Rakoci leads the team with four goals while junior Erica White (Washington, PA/Fort Cherry), sophomore Claire Davis (Brook Park, OH/Berea-Midpark), sophomore Krissy Blanchard (Mayfield Hts., OH/Mayfield), sophomore Kelsey Hall (Coraopolis, PA/Moon Area) and first-year Miura Wiley (Cheshire, CT/Cheshire Academy) each have two goals. Additionally, junior Devin Frisby (Goshen, KY/Pomfret Schoo. (CT) leads all tournament teams with five assists.

…And Closing Down: Wooster's total effort in the season finale was most notably marked by its defensive presence, as the Scots limited the Gators to zero shots on the day. On the season, Ireton holds the highest save total (63) of any remaining team and has not allowed a second-half goal since Wooster's 1-1 draw to Oberlin College on Oct. 14. Meanwhile, on the offensive end, six of Wooster's last seven goals have come after the 50th minute of play. Defensively, the Scots have recorded three shutouts this season, including a 0-0 draw against regionally-ranked John Carroll University on Sept. 6.

300th Career Victory:  Last week's victory over Allegheny marked head coach David "Geordie" Brown's 299th career victory while at the helm of the Scots' women's program. Brown's overall record of 299-165-47 (.632) not only makes him the winningest women's soccer coach at Wooster but puts him among the top-35 in NCAA Div. III history for victories. Brown has been honored as the NCAC Coach-of-the-Year in 1994, 1996, 2002, and 2010, and Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1992, and he received the Ohio College Soccer Officials Sportsmanship Award in 2005. Also of note, 25 of Brown's 27 teams have posted winning records, and he has coached five All-American honorees, three Academic All-Americans®, and 74 different all-conference award winners.

NCAC Tournament:  Tuesday marks Wooster's eighth NCAC Tournament appearance and first-ever tournament game against Kenyon. In 2012, the Scots' most recent showing, second-seeded Wooster lost 1-0 to third-seeded Denison University. Overall, Wooster is 1-5-4 in conference tournament play, with the program's sole win coming as a No. 4 seed in the 2003 semifinal against top-seeded Allegheny. Wooster is 1-3-3 in semifinal matches and 0-2-1 in championship games. Away from Carl Dale Memorial Field, the Scots are 1-4-3. Four of Wooster's 10 matches have gone to penalty kicks, including the 2003 championship match. Of those four, Wooster is 2-2. The winner of Tuesday's match will face the winner between No. 2 Wittenberg University and No. 3 Denison, who play on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in Springfield, Ohio. The championship match is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 4, with the highest remaining seed set to host.