Green Knights Dance Way to First NCAA Tournament Appearance

From Sports Information Director, November 9, 2013 | Women's Soccer
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - Bridesmaids no more!

After finishing as the runner-up in the Midwest Conference Tournament four times in the last five years and eight times in the last 12 seasons, St. Norbert College is heading to the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship for the first time. The Green Knights topped Monmouth College 2-0 at a blustery Schneider Stadium to win the MWC Tournament for the first time in the automatic-qualifier era.

St. Norbert (14-4-2) will find out its opponent and site of competition when the NCAA releases the tournament bracket at 12:30 p.m. Monday.

The Green Knights and Fighting Scots battled to a scoreless first half. Monmouth (12-5-2) had a strong northwesterly wind at its back for the first half, but mustered few scoring chances and was outshot 4-2 in the first 45 minutes.

In the second half, the wind proved pivotal in St. Norbert's offensive attack. The Green Knights got on the board at 62:06, when Stephanie Pedretti played a free kick from about 35 yards out. The strong wind carried the ball over St. Norbert's attackers and over Monmouth goalkeeper Samantha Barranco's head into the net for a 1-0 lead and Pedretti's first goal of the season.

Just moments later, Katie Vanden Avond took a pass from Nicole Beine and beat her defender up the right side. Vanden Avond ripped a strike to the far post for her NCAA-leading 36th goal of the season, and the 90th of her career. Vanden Avond became just the ninth player in NCAA Division III history to score 36 goals in a season, and the first since 2002.

St. Norbert had several chances to extend its lead, but Barranco turned away three point-blank chances down the stretch to hold the deficit to 2-0. Monmouth generated little offense in the second half, getting outshot 13-3 in the final 45 minutes and 17-5 for the match.

Platzer made three saves in goal to earn the shutout for St. Norbert. Barranco made nine saves in her final collegiate game for Monmouth.