Hagen Leads Panthers To 2009 League Championship
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Nov. 8, 2009) - Sophomore Sarah Hagen tied a school record with four goals to lead the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's soccer game to a 4-0 victory over Valparaiso in the title game of the 2009 Horizon League Championship Sunday afternoon at Engelmann Field.
The Panthers (12-5-3) won their 10th-straight game and claimed the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The championship is Milwaukee's sixth in 11 title game appearances.
"I think we are starting to show a mental toughness and we have grown a lot (over the season)," Milwaukee head coach Michael Moynihan said. "(This team) has done well for itself and I am very proud of them. We hope to make a good run now (in the NCAA Tournament). I think we are positioned for it."
Hagen's four goals tied the school record she had previously tied during UWM's regular season showdown with the Crusaders (11-9-1). It was her third hat trick of the season and gave her 24 for the season, tying the school and league record she set last season.
Hagen struck for her first goal in the ninth minute and added scores in the 13th and 24th minutes for a 3-0 Panther lead heading into halftime.
Junior Nicole Sperl set up the first goal with a floating ball into the box that Hagen tracked and headed past the keeper. Freshman Helen Steinhauser played a ball into the box for the second goal, with senior Louise Vraney and sophomore Makenzie Gillaspie redirecting to Hagen. Sophomore Laurel Ragalie set up the third tally with a through ball that Hagen was able to chip over the keeper.
Milwaukee displayed a patient and efficient attack throughout the game, securing an 8-2 shot advantage in the first half and finishing with a 14-3 edge in the game. The Panthers also took all three of the game's corner kicks.
Hagen's final goal came in the 58th minute off a cross from Gillaspie, who tallied her second assist of the game. Sophomore Keara Thompson played the ball out wide to Gillaspie, who darted for the endline. Her cross found Hagen's head at the far post for the final score of the game.
Hagen was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player for the second-straight season. She tallied three goals and an assist in the 2008 title game. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Gillaspie, Sperl and freshman Jamie Forbes.
Forbes made two saves in 64-plus minutes for the win and finished the tourney with a 0.00 goals against average in 155:28. Junior Leslie Deebach provided flawless relief in goal over the final 25:32. For Valpo, Mele Cabral played the entire game and made on save.
The Panthers find out their first round assignment in the 2009 NCAA Tournament Monday, when the announcement is made on ESPNews at approximately 7 p.m. Milwaukee will host a viewing party, with the details being released later Sunday.