Mercedes Wilson scored twice and Sammie Lefaive saved eight shots as UW-Eau Claire defeated UW-Oshkosh, 3-0, in a first round match of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Women's Soccer Championship (Presented by Culver's) held Tuesday (Oct. 30) in Eau Claire.
Wilson put UW-Eau Claire (9-7-1) ahead for good when she scored off a pass from Emily Sullivan 10 minutes (9:57) into play. Wilson then added an insurance goal for the Blugolds by scoring off a pass from Hannah Schaetzel in the game's 59th minute (58:04). The goals were Wilson's fifth and sixth of the season.
Lefaive kept UW-Oshkosh (7-11-1) from scoring by saving two shots in the first half and six in the second. The shutout was her fifth of the year.
UW-Eau Claire, which won its second straight match over UW-Oshkosh after seven consecutive defeats to the Titans, advances to play at second-seeded UW-Stevens Point (12-2-3) during the tournament's semifinal round on Thursday (Nov. 1). The third-seeded Blugolds are appearing in the semifinals for the sixth time in seven seasons.
Thursday's other semifinal contest features top-seeded and nationally ranked UW-La Crosse (15-2-2) hosting fifth-seeded UW-Whitewater (10-9-1). UW-Whitewater qualified for its match with UW-La Crosse by defeating fourth-seeded UW-Platteville (9-10), 1-0, on Thursday in Platteville.
The WIAC Championship final will be contested Saturday (Nov. 3) at the highest remaining seed. The winner of the WIAC Championship earns the league's automatic berth into the 64-team NCAA Division III Championship that begins Nov. 9.
UW-Eau Claire closed Tuesday's scoring against the sixth-seeded Titans with a goal by Sullivan during the 68th minute (67:48). Sullivan's team-leading 10th goal of the season followed a pass from Ellie Lochner.
UW-Oshkosh earned three corner kick opportunities and had eight of its 11 shots saved by Lefaive.
Lefaive stopped shots from six UW-Oshkosh players, including Alexis Brewer in the third and 88th minute and Hannah Zacher in the 24th and 77th. Lefaive also blocked shots by Titans Kylee Brown in the 52nd, Mallory Knight in the 58th, Hope Schaefer-Kemps in the 81st and Mackenzie Bennett in the 85th. Knight finished the match with a team-leading three shots.
UW-Oshkosh goalkeeper Erin Toomey also saved eight shots. Her biggest flurry of activity came in the first half when she stopped six shots.
UW-Eau Claire concluded the match with 17 shots and five corner kicks. The Blugolds were led by the five shots from Wilson and the four by Emma Stange.
Photo courtesy of Bill Spencer Hoepner