SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The Wheaton College women's soccer team fell just short of returning to the NCAA Division III national championship match in a 2-1 loss to Emory University on Friday night in the NCAA Division III semifinal at Blossom Soccer Stadium in San Antonio.
Wheaton ends the year with a 21-4-2 record. Emory (15-1-7) advances to the national championship match Saturday.
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A very open second half produced a flurry of activity, particularly in a three-minute stretch beginning in the 64th minute. Emory scored a go-ahead goal at 63:59 when the Eagles' Emily Feldman registered a long goal into the net from outside of the left edge of the 18-yard box.
The Eagles extended the lead to 2-0 at 66:41 on a goal by Lauren Gorodetsky on an arcing blast from 25 yards out. Wheaton responded with a goal just 14 seconds later when Anna Seabolt headed the ball into the net off of an Alexa Sharkey (Wheaton Academy) assist at the 66:55 mark of the match.
Each team had opportunities in the first half as Wheaton held a 9-5 edge in shots in the half and each team took three shots on goal in the half. A shot by Leah DeMoss (St. Charles North) went just over the goal with 14:47 remaining in the first half. A cross to Sarah Guidera with 12:20 left in the first half just missed as well. Thunder goalkeeper Hilary Barreto made a key save with 3:17 left before the halftime intermission, as the contest was scoreless at halftime.
"I told our players when we finished that I was very proud of them," Thunder coach Pete Felske said. "Tonight was a microcosm of our season. Today was one of those days. We played good soccer, but I don't think we played the way we wanted to play. It was a frustrating game for us, but we have come a long way since the beginning of the year."
Wheaton outshot the Eagles 17-9 and the Thunder owned a 9-6 edge in shots on goal. Wheaton took five corner kicks in the match and Emory had one.
The match was Wheaton's seventh appearance in the NCAA Division III semifinals and the program's first loss in a semifinal since 2001. Wheaton is 5-2 all-time in the national semifinal.