With history having already been made this past weekend, the Capital University women's soccer team looks to take another historical step in program history, as they travel to St. Louis, Mo., this weekend to face Thomas More (Ky.) in the round of 16 of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The round of 16 match will take place today, November 23, at 1:30 pm (2:30 pm Eastern). No. 1 nationally ranked Washington University (Mo.) will be the host site the for the third round and quarterfinals matches.
Those unable to make the trip to St. Louis are invited to Moe Lounge on the second floor of the Capital Center on the Capital University campus to view Saturday's match.
Refreshments will be available for purchase at the concession stand in the lobby on the first floor as the women's basketball team takes on Thomas More at 3 pm in the Performance Arena.
The winner of Saturday's game takes on the winner of the No. 18 Puget Sound (Wash)-No. 1 Washington (Mo.) on Sunday at 2:30 pm Eastern for a trip to the NCAA Tournament semifinals in San Antonio, Texas, on December 6-7.
Capital (18-4-1) comes into Saturday's match on an eight game win streak, having recorded a new single-season team record in wins in a 1-0 victory over the University of Wisconsin Whitewater in the round of 32 this past Sunday night.
In addition, the Crusaders made program history in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, having advanced to the round of 16, a step the program had never gotten to up until Sunday.
As for their opponent, Thomas More (19-1-2), comes into the game on an 18-match unbeaten streak, having suffered its only loss of the season on September 11 at home in a 2-1 double overtime defeat to Capital.
Since that setback, the Saints have won 16 of their last 18 games en route to a No. 14 national ranking.
The Crusaders, who earned back-to-back 1-0 victories in the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, enter the round of 16 having shutout their opponent in five straight matches, winning by a combined 8-0 margin.
In the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, the Crusaders traveled to Whitewater, Wis., to take on the University of Chicago in an evening affair at host Whitewater.
Late game heroics were awarded to sophomore Mariah Richards, who tapped in a corner kick by freshman Claire Quinn in the 102nd minute.
Then in the round of 32, the Crusaders defeated unbeaten and No. 16 nationally ranked University of Wisconsin Whitewater, 1-0.
Originally, the Warhawks were set to host the Crusaders on day two of the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, but following severe weather conditions that swept across the Midwest, the game was forced to move northeast, away from the torrential rain and storms.
In the 43rd minute, Richards, who scored the game winning goal in round one on Saturday night, found a ball from senior Michelle Geiger and tapped it into the back of the net for the score.
As the second half progressed and the clock winded down to zero, the Crusaders stormed the field in elation after advancing and recording the program's best win total, trumping the previous record (17) set back in 1998.
Leading the way this season for Capital has been a pair of seniors in goalkeeper Maggie Donnellan (Cincinnati, Ohio) and forward Hilary Ells (Grandview Heights, Ohio).
Donnellan, who earned her third consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Year award, has started all 23 games in net for the Crusaders, en route to the best save percentage in the OAC (.872), while also placing in the top five in the OAC in goals against (17), goals-against average (0.76), and saves (116).
In her last five starts, Donnellan has posted a shutout win in each of them, including back-to-back shutout victories in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
Ells, the 2013 OAC Forward of the Year, tops the conference in points (28) and goals (14), having played a key role during the Crusaders' entire 2013 campaign, including six goals throughout Capital's eight game win streak.
Thomas More, winner of the Presidents' Athletic Conference Tournament, comes into the round of 16 having defeated Allegheny (Pa.) in round one of the NCAA Tournament (2-1), while also taking down Hanover (Ind.) in the round of 32 (1-0) this past weekend.
This season, the Saints have played six opponents that the Crusaders have also faced, including defeats of four OAC teams in John Carroll (5-0), Otterbein (2-0), Ohio Northern (2-0) and Marietta (5-0).
Similarly, Capital went a combined 6-2, including the OAC Tournament, against the same six opponents that Thomas More faced.
Match notes are available here (PDF).
Located in the Columbus, Ohio, community of Bexley, Capital University is a private, four-year undergraduate institution and graduate school. Capital prepares students for meaningful lives and purposeful careers through a relevant liberal arts core curriculum and deep professional programs. Influenced by its Lutheran heritage, Capital places great emphasis on the free and open exchange of ideas, seeking out diverse perspectives, active participation in society, leadership and service. With a focus on rigor and experiential learning, the University capitalizes on its size, location, and heritage to develop the whole person, both inside and outside the classroom.