– Senior Kaitlyn Buoni and sophomore Kat Giantsopoulos both scored as No. 4 Davis & Elkins emerged as the winner of the fifth annual Great Midwest Athletic Conference Women’s Soccer Championship game on Saturday, 2-1.
The Senators (10-9-0) were able to edge No. 2 seed Ursuline and become the league’s first two-time G-MAC tournament champion in the sport after also winning the 2013 crown.
As a result, Davis & Elkins receives an automatic qualifier to participate in the NCAA dII Championship Midwest Regional at a host site still to be determined. The Senators will discover their destination as assigned by committee during Monday’s selection show at 6 p.m. EST.
From a tournament that started with six teams, the Senators had the longest road through the bracket that included a quarterfinal win vs. No. 5 Kentucky Wesleyan, semifinal triumph vs. No. 1 Trevecca Nazarene and finally, toppling the No. 2 Arrows.
But Davis & Elkins also experienced the frustration that came with winning the league’s regular-season title in 2015, only to be eliminated in the semifinals on the Senators’ home pitch and head into the offseason earlier than expected.
It was a tough pill to swallow, but for a resilient group under the leadership of first-year head coach Meghan Gill, it was a redeeming moment.
Parents who made the trip eagerly waited by the fence before the celebration began with the team trophy, the unfurled banner and individual mini tournament trophies for each member on the traveling roster.
Unfortunately for Ursuline, the Arrows were bidding for their second conference title in five tournament final appearances, but came up on the short end of another competitive battle.
The stars came out in this one as 2015 G-MAC Offensive Player of the Year and G-MAC Freshman of the Year Katrina Giantsopoulos (2x First Team All-G-MAC) delivered the opening blow with the first score at the 6:23 mark.
She was answered by Ursuline’s freshman forward Jill Bohling, who bolted ahead of the defense and slotted home a left-footed game-tying strike about 19 minutes later. Bohling was this year's G-MAC Offensive Player of the Year and G-MAC Freshman of the Year.
D&E, so deadly and precise on corner kicks in the semis against tourney host Trevecca Nazarene, delivered another scoring chance off the set piece as Buoni raced to a loose ball and drilled a shot past that deflected off the left hand of Ursuline’s Helen Jazzar. Buoni nailed the kick from a difficult angle following the initial delivery into the box by Asheli Freed.
With Buoni’s goal in the 54th minute, a stout defensive unit showed no signs of weariness or letting up relentless pursuit as Ursuline’s offense couldn’t get tracked in the final minutes.
Sophomore keeper Lauren Hill stopped back-to-back shots from Bohling and Steph Chlad late in the second half; the Arrows were unable to get another shot away with seven minutes left in regulation.
Hill gave up just one goal in 270 minutes of the postseason that included back-to-back shutouts against KWC and TNU.
Davis & Elkins improved to 5-2 all-time against Ursuline since becoming members of the G-MAC in 2013. The G-MAC Women’s Soccer Championship started this year with four different winners in as many years.