Jan. 26, 2020
KISSIMMEE, Fla. ---On Saturday, the Eagles put an emphatic final stamp on their season, scoring four goals and recording an eighth-consecutive shutout to win the NCCAA Women's Soccer National Championship.
It was Biola's second NCCAA championship of the day after volleyball won at the Kissimmee Civic Center earlier in the afternoon, but the first NCCAA championship in the history of the women's soccer program.
The Eagles absolutely dominated the ball from wire-to-wire, leading them to a shutout of a team that scored 12 goals in their first three matches of the tournament. Indiana Wesleyan's Tia Sanford took the first shot of the match three minutes in. But Biola prevented the Wildcats from taking their second shot of the match until 13 minutes into the second half.
By that time the Eagles had already created a 3-0 advantage thanks to a first-half strike from Madi deMetropolisand back-to-back goals at the opening of the second half from Annmarie Alvarez and Ashley Ramirez.
deMetropolis punched home the game-winner in the 30th minute after a rocket from Ramirez rebounded away from the keeper and to the freshman forward's feet. deMetropolis did not skip a beat, pushing the ball inside the right post for her second goal of the season.
Head Coach Erin Brunelle's team finished the first half in a commanding position, working its way to an 11-to-1 advantage in shots and setting the table for three more goals in the second half. But in the lead up to Alvarez and Ramirez' goals the teams also had to navigate an unexpected wrinkle created by the playing conditions. Halftime was extended by 10 minutes because a bank of floodlights down the left sideline went dark.
The lights would cause two more stoppages during the second half, but those delays would not deter Biola one iota. Seven minutes after the second half started with the conclusion of the 10-minute delay, Paula-Marie Labateexecuted an excellent cutback move that shook her defender and created space for her to rifle a ball in front of the net. Alvarez followed that up with a great display of quick reflexes that helped her get her head on the ball for the goal.
Forty-five seconds later Ramirez put the match out of reach with a shot from the top of the 18-yard box that beat the keeper to the upper 90. Samantha Verduzco put the ball on the dime in front of Ramirez feet to get the assist.
When Ramirez scored with 37 minutes remaining in the match, the main question left to answer was whether the Eagles were going to record their eighth-straight shutout. Indiana Wesleyan took four shots in a five-minute span that began at the 81st minute. But the Eagles continued to pressure and win the ball and benefited from a great play by Madyson Brown in the 81st minute where Brown body-blocked a shot from Lexis Garcia that would have otherwise had a direct path to goal.
Brown was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCCAA Championships while Biola ended its season on a streak of 807 minutes without conceding a goal. Colie Martin, Hali Oakes and Ashley Ramirez, who scored the final goal with 33 seconds left, were also named to the All-Tournament team.
Biola ends its season with an incredible eight-match winning streak and a 17-3-2 record. They will be back for their second NCAA Division II season next fall and once again have hopes of ending the year at this NCCAA Tournament.
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