MARION, Ind. - Indiana Wesleyan women's soccer withstood numerous shots from No. 6-ranked Spring Arbor (Mich.) University to pull off a 1-0 upset in the regular season finale for both teams.
The Cougars outshot the Wildcats 20-5 on the night and 9-3 in shots on goal. But the Wildcats hit the only shot that mattered on Thursday in the 35th minute.
Kelsey Johnston knocked home the game-winning goal off an assist from Jordan Harris with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half. At the time of the goal Spring Arbor had outshot Indiana Wesleyan 10-1.
"We scored on a corner kick and that is only the second time we did that in about 100 corner kicks this year," said Indiana Wesleyan head coach Dr. John Bratcher. "But they were both game-winners as the other came in overtime at Campbellsville."
Indiana Wesleyan earns the win over a top-10 team for the first time this year. Earlier in the season IWU had then No. 2-ranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) College on the ropes until a goal in the 86th minute by LWC sent the match into overtime where Lindsey Wilson eventually won.
"They have been ranked in the top-6 all year long," said Bratcher of Spring Arbor. "We finished the game this time. We had Lindsey Wilson early and were up 1-0 on them and gave up a goal with four minutes left. We've matured and our freshmen have grown up. We've learned how to play with a lead. We played our hearts out and weathered their storm and we bended but did not break."
The loss for Spring Arbor breaks a 12-match winning streak dating back to September 12 and is the only loss for SAU in Crossroads League play. Bratcher believes the defense keyed tonight's victory.
"The backs had to weather Megan Smith, one of the top scorers in their history, and NAIA All-American Carli Linton," stated Bratcher. "Tracey Tiernon did a great job on her tonight and that was key. We were determined to win
this game by continuing to mark their players out and not give them anything."
In net the Wildcats received a big match from senior goalkeeper Jamie Speidel. She made eight saves -- while the defense collected one -- for the shutout victory.
"Jamie had an unbelievable night," continued Bratcher. "She was just outstanding and made some big saves for us."
The victory allows Indiana Wesleyan to tie Grace (Ind.) College for second place in the final league standings just a year after finishing in sixth place. Both teams finished 6-2-1 in league play for 19 points. Grace earns the No. 2-seed over Indiana Wesleyan in the CL Tournament due to the head-to-head tie breaker.
Indiana Wesleyan is the tournament's No. 3-seed and will host No. 6-seed University of Saint Francis (Ind.) at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Crossroads League Tournament First Round at Wildcat Field. Indiana Wesleyan just beat Saint Francis 1-0 on October 20.