COLUMBUS, Ohio — In its second trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history, Ohio Dominican's women's soccer team will face Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament champion McKendree in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Division II women's soccer championship.
Ohio Dominican will take on the Bearcats this Friday at 2 p.m. at the Grand Valley State University Soccer Field in Allendale, Michigan and with a victory, will face top-seeded Grand Valley State on Sunday at 1 p.m. in a second round contest.
About Ohio Dominican
The Panthers (15-4-2, 11-2-1 G-MAC) have tied a program record for wins in a season with 15 victories on the year and haven't lost since October 11. In its last seven matches, Ohio Dominican has outscored opponents by a 20-2 margin and earned Great Midwest Athletic Conference runner-up honors after defeating Kentucky Wesleyan and Walsh in the G-MAC Tournament before tying No. 20 Ohio Valley 1-1 (2OT) and falling 6-5 in a penalty kick shootout this past Saturday.
ODU will be looking for its first NCAA Tournament victory and is making its second trip to the big dance in the last four seasons. In 2014, Ohio Dominican finished 15-5-1 before falling 1-0 to Saginaw Valley in the first round of the women's soccer championship. The program has only been in existence for 18 seasons and has competed in Division II since 2010, accumulating an 88-46-20 record in the last eight seasons.
Seniors Lauren Bates (Hilliard, Ohio) and Alli Pavlik (Cortland, Ohio) have led the offensive charge for the Panthers in 2017 and earned first and second team All-Great Midwest honors. Bates boasts 15 goals on the season and has scored nine goals in her last eight matches. She ranked second in the Great Midwest in goals scored and third in points with 33 on the season, also leading ODU in shot percentage at .227. Pavlik ranks third all-time in ODUWS history in goals scored with 28 and has scored nine in 15 matches this season, including five game winners. She ranks in a tie for second on the squad and eighth in the G-MAC in points (21).
Sophomore Becca Gordon (Johnstown, Ohio) has also spearheaded the attack for Ohio Dominican and has tallied five goals, two assists for 12 points in her last four matches. Gordon ranks in a tie for second on the team in goals scored (nine) and points (21), with four of her goals coming as game winners.
Defensively, junior keeper Marissa Wierzbicki (Powell, Ohio) leads a unit that boasts a goals against average of 0.89 this season and has surrendered just two goals in her last seven contests. Wierzbicki was named first team All-Great Midwest to be honored as the top keeper in the conference.
Also earning first team all-conference honors was freshman defender Lindsay Buten (Cincinnati, Ohio), who has picked up two assists this season while anchoring the defensive efforts for the Panthers. Sophomores Shelby Shotton (Marion, Illinois) and Cheyenne Story (Canfield, Ohio) join Buten on ODU's back line and have combined for 33 starts this season at defender.
The Bearcats (15-2-3, 9-2-3 GLVC) earned Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament champion honors after knocking off No. 5 Quincy 3-0 on Saturday in the conference final.
McKendree enters Friday's match with Ohio Dominican having won four-straight and has defeated two ranked opponents this season.
With 33 goals on the season, McKendree is led offensively by junior forward Sydnee Carroll and freshman midfielder Alynnah O'Leary. Carroll has tallied nine goals and five assists for 23 points this season, while O' Leary has recorded eight goals on the year.
The Bearcats bring a staunch defense to the table, ranking seventh in NCAA Division II in goals against average at 0.42 with just nine total goals allowed in 2017.
This will be just the second meeting between ODUWS and McKendree and their first matchup in the Panthers' NCAA Division II era. The two teams share common opponents this season in Kentucky Wesleyan, Quincy and Truman State, with McKendree going a combined 2-1-1 against the three teams. Ohio Dominican fell 1-0 to No. 5 Quincy in the opening match of the season before topping Truman 2-0 on September 2.
Scouting the Midwest Region
No. 9 Grand Valley State (18-3-0, 9-0-0 GLIAC) picked up the top seed in the Midwest region and will host first and second round NCAA Championship contests. The winner of the Ohio Dominican/McKendree matchup will go on to face defending national runner-up GVSU on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Earning the second seed in the Midwest region was No. 5 Quincy (16-3-1, 13-1-0 GLVC), which will also host first and second round action. The Hawks face the winner of third-seeded Ohio Valley (16-0-3, 12-0-1 G-MAC) and Bellarmine (7-3-7, 6-3-5 GLVC). OVU earned the regular season and conference tournament title in the Great Midwest and will face Bellarmine, which boasts the best defense in the nation with a goals against average of just 0.31.
Track the Action
Contact: Aaron McPherson