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Grand Valley State, Bridgeport advance to NCAA DII women’s final

A couple of shut out wins on Thursday evening paved the way for Grand Valley State and Bridgeport to earn a berth in the NCAA Division II National Cchampionship game to be played at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Highmark Stadium.

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Summaries from NCAA, Grand Valley State and Bridgeport reports 

Photo credit Justin Berl / UCSD athletics Twitter


Grand Valley State remained unbeaten with yet another impressive performance in dismantling Lee Lady Flames’ title hopes in second semifinal by a 3-0 count.

The Lakers improve to 25-0-1 on the year while the Flames end their season at 17-7-1.

Neither team could generate much in the way of goal scoring chances in the first 20 minutes, with the teams combining for just three shots. Sydney O’Donnell sparked the GVSU offense when she lofted a brilliant cross into the right corner, where Caitie Baron used her speed to get behind the remainder of the Lee defense and blast a goal into the top shelf.

In a blur, the Lakers doubled their lead when Riko Sagara went striding through the defense and feathered a perfect through ball to Ava Cook, who bullied her way tight on frame and tucked home her 24th goal of the year. The assist from Sagara was her nation-leading 23rd this season and she’ll have one more game to try and match, or break, the GVSU single-season record of 24.

The Lakers carried a 2-0 lead at the half and would find the dagger when Chelsea Graves struck from distance and deflected a ball of the keeper and into goal. GVSU would grind out the final 25 minutes and celebrate a trip to the National Championship.

GVSU, eying the program’s sixth National Championship, will face the Bridgeport Purple Knights.


Game 1 of the semifinals saw Bridgeport register a 2-0 victory over UC San Diego.

Second half goals from sophomore Amanda Ebbesson (Solna, Sweden) and junior Maegen Doyle (Harwich, England) help lift the University of Bridgeport women’s soccer team to a 2-0 win over the UC San Diego Tritons in semifinals of the NCAA Division II National Championship Tournament on Thursday night in Pittsburgh, Pa.  The Purple Knights, who will be making the program’s first-ever NCAA National Championship appearance in women’s soccer, will face the winner of semifinal number two between Lee and Grand Valley State at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.  UB is now 19-4-1 overall, and UCSD closes out 2018 at 19-3-2.

After a scoreless first half, Ebbesson netted her third goal of 2018, all of which have come during the NCAA Tournament, after a beautiful combination pass from junior Elin Eklund (Gothenburg, Sweden) and freshman Annie Bjork (Malmo, Sweden) just over seven minutes into the second half.

Doyle gave the Purple Knights a much needed insurance goal when she hammered home a free kick from well beyond the penalty box at the 73:00 minute mark for her 28th goal the season.   Doyle now has scored in seventeen straight matches in which she has played.

UB senior goalkeeper Jennifer Wendelius (Lidingo, Sweden) made four saves to earn the shutout, her eleventh clean sheet of 2018 and number 32 of her career.  Wendelius also now has 58 wins in a Bridgeport uniform.

The Tritons outshot Bridgeport, 18-11, on the night and held an 8-3 advantage in corner kicks, but the Purple Knights held strong throughout the evening to record the clean sheet.

The Lakers will face Bridgeport in Saturday’s final.

It will be a rematch of a contest GVSU won 6-0 back in September. That’s the only time the two teams have met.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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