#15 Panthers Rout Wright State 5-1 In League Title Game
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Nov. 6, 2011) - Sarah Hagen scored two goals and assisted on two more to lead the No. 15 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's soccer team to a 5-1 rout of Wright State in the 2011 Horizon League Championship game Sunday afternoon at Engelmann Stadium.
The top-seeded Panthers (18-2) won their fourth-straight league title and are bound for a program-best fourth-straight NCAA Tournament. The Raiders (10-8-3) entered the tournament as the fifth seed, but had advanced to their first title game appearance since 2000.
"It's exciting. I think it's a tremendous credit to this group," UWM head coach Michael Moynihan said. "We've had contributions from a lot of places. Our freshman group has been fantastic. We've had wonderful senior leadership and phenomenal team chemistry. Put that all together and it's the first undefeated season we've had in the league in a while capped with a league championship."
Wright State scored first, but Milwaukee took over the game's momentum shortly thereafter and did not let up in what proved to be a record-breaking game for the team.
Hagen's six points pushed her season total to a school and league-record 56, while the goals matched her school and league mark of 24. With its 18th win of the season, UWM tied the 2008 squad for most wins in a season in school history. Jamie Forbes also made six saves for her 17th win of the season, tying another school record.
Trailing 1-0 in a back-and-forth game early, the Panthers slowly took over the game's momentum, striking for the equalizer at the 23-minute mark. Hagen beat her defender out wide and slotted a cross that Laurel Ragalie one-timed into the net.
Hagen nearly set up the go-ahead goal initially just a couple minutes later when her cross was headed off the post by Helen Steinhauser. Her fortunes changed in the 43rd minute when Hagen's short pass in the box found Kelly Lewers. Lewers then ricocheted a shot off the far post and into the goal for the eventual game-winner.
The Panthers took the 2-1 lead into halftime and maintained control of the game after the break.
Keara Thompson got on the board with a tremendous unassisted score in the 57th minute. She made a dynamic run through the midfield, playing a ball through a defender's legs on the way, and blasted a shot from the top off the box just inside the far post.
Hagen then capped the scoring with a pair of goals to put the result even further out of reach. She drew a foul just off the corner of the penalty area in the 66th minute and then volleyed home Makenzie Gillaspie's subsequent free kick at the far post. Hagen followed it up nine-plus minutes later with an unassisted blast of her own from the top of the box.
Milwaukee controlled the stat sheet with a 25-13 advantage in shots, including 17-7 in the second half. The Panthers put 12 of their shots in the game on frame, forcing Brooke McCurdy to make seven saves for WSU.
Brittany Persaud had put the Raiders ahead just 12:11 into the match, taking a cross from I'esha King and slotting a shot into the UWM goal at the far post. At that point, the match had been fairly even, with the team alternating shots.
Thompson was named the tournament MVP, while Hagen, Gillaspie, Forbes and Steinhauser also represent Milwaukee on the all-tournament.
The Panthers now await their NCAA Tournament fate. The selections will be made live on NCAA.com at 3:30 p.m. central time. Details for the team's selection show viewing plans will be released later this evening.