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Women’s Soccer Advances to A-10 Championship

by | Apr 15, 2021

Katherine “Kat” Smith makes the throw in for the ‘Cats. [photo from last season]

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — After grinding out a pair of 110-minute draws to reach its first Atlantic 10 Tournament, the Davidson women’s soccer team struck early with the only goal it needed in Thursday’s semifinal.

Alexandra Menard scored off a Katherine Smith cross 25 seconds into the match with UMass, and the Wildcats held on from there for a 1-0 victory.

Now, they’re bound for the A-10 Championship game on Saturday at 1 p.m. (EST), where they’ll meet top-seeded host and No. 20-ranked Saint Louis with an NCAA Tournament bid on the line.

“We’re really pleased to go to the first championship,” said coach Adam Denton, whose team improved to 7-3-3. “We’re going to rest and recover and prepare for SLU. Like all our challenges we’ve had this season, we’ll prepare for it, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Menard’s goal came after the ball went out wide to the left, where Hailey Braemer controlled it and kicked it back to Smith, who then lofted the ball high into the box. Menard made her run and thought she had a shot at it.

“It was a perfect cross from Kat Smith, placed perfectly on my head,” she said.

Menard did the rest, timing her jump just right and heading it into the bottom left of the goal.

“To be able to execute in such a high-stakes game is so exciting,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mary Grace Bunch made six saves, and the third-seeded Wildcats kept the Minutewomen off the board with what Denton called “a really gritty performance.”

“They put us under a lot of pressure,” he said. “We were defending well, but not maintaining possession. We were resilient and did create some good chances on the counter attack.”

Twice, the Wildcats nearly added to their lead. Remi White’s header in the 23rd minute hit the crossbar, and Riley Patton’s shot hit the post with 5:30 to play.

Saint Louis (14-1) advanced with a 3-0 win over No. 4 Dayton in Thursday’s first semifinal. The Billikens have won the last two A-10 championships.

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