It is only fitting that the Patriot League Women’s Soccer Championship between AU and Colgate University ended in double overtime, but much like the last double-overtime game between these two schools, AU was on the losing side with a final score of 1-0.
There were no late-game heroics for the Eagles like there were in the semifinals when AU scored the winning goal with less than a minute to go.
AU dominated the Raiders on the stat sheet, out-shooting the Raiders 11-8 with four shots on goal. Despite AU’s offensive advantage, it was the defense that proved key in Colgate’s win. In the 105th minute, Patriot League Rookie of the Year Ashley Walsh challenged and stopped Eagle forward Kelsey Brasher to keep the game scoreless.
Eagle goalkeeper Arianna Efstathiou provided an equally impressive showing, making three saves. One of those saves kept AU’s championship hopes alive in the 102nd minute. Efstathiou came up in the box and challenged the streaking Raiders winger, taking away a game-winning goal.
While she didn’t win the Tournament MVP, AU senior forward Brasher was the Championship game’s best player. Brasher, who has been one of the Eagle’s best players all year, had two shots on goal, with seven total.
Despite being ranked second in the Patriot League standings, AU was the clear underdog. Not only did Colgate hand AU one of their two losses during the regular season, but has now won seven games in a row. To go along with their regular season dominance, the Championship victory gave the Raiders their 11th PL Title.
The Patriot League Women’s Soccer All-Tournament Team was announced after the game. AU had three players named to the team, including Brasher, sophomore goalkeeper Efstathiou and freshman midfielder Michelle Montilio.
With the victory, the Raiders get an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The selections and pairings will be announced on ESPNews tomorrow at 8 p.m.
Overall, the season has been a vast improvement over last year’s disappointment. AU finished with an 11-10 record with a 5-2 conference record, a six game improvement from last year’s record of 5-10-4 with only a 2-2-3 PL record.
Sunday’s loss marks the last game of the women’s soccer season. They will resume practice and spring exhibition games next semester.