ADRIAN, Mich. – The Adrian College women's soccer team is set to play in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association's Championship Match on Saturday, Nov. 3 in Holland, Mich. against top-seeded Hope College at noon.
This will be the second time in program history the Bulldogs will be playing for the conference title. Adrian lost to Alma 1-0 in 2011 in the only other appearance, which included beating the Flying Dutch 3-1 in the semifinal that year.
With this year's semifinal win, the Black and Gold picked up their first win in MIAA postseason play since that 2011 season. Adrian has now made the tournament two years in a row, after not making it for three consecutive years. Overall, this was the Bulldogs' 11th time being in the playoffs out of 15 years the tournament has been around.
This will be Hope's seventh straight appearance in the title match, with the Flying Dutch winning three of their previous six appearances, including the last two. Hope got the better of Adrian in the regular season meeting between the two, beating the Bulldogs 1-0 at Docking Stadium on a goal in the 81st minute.
The loss was Adrian's final stumble of the season and the only blemish on an otherwise perfect conference season. Starting with the Bulldogs' first home match on Sep. 15, AC has won 12 of its last 13 games heading into the championship match.
Saturday's match will be a battle of the conference's top offense against its stingiest defense. The Bulldogs lead the MIAA with 50 goals in 19 games, featuring three players in the top-10 in points. First Team All-MIAA Junior Caroline Fleming leads the conference with 31 points, and is second in goals, with 11. Second Team All-MIAA freshman McKenna Mahoney is sixth in the conference in points and goals, with 23 points and 10 goals on the year. Another First Team All-MIAA selection in sophomore Megan Louwers rounds out the top-ten point-getters in the conference, with 20 points good for 10th in the MIAA.
With as much firepower as Adrian has on offense, Hope is right there defensively, having only conceded six goals all year. The Bulldogs aren't slouches on defense either, as they have the conference's second-best defense, having only surrendered 14 goals this year. The Black and Gold's defense is anchored by two First Team All-MIAA selections in senior center back Rachel Rodeheffer and junior goalkeeper Ayverie Giller. The back line has been impenetrable of late, allowing only two goals throughotu all nine matches played in the month of October. They have posted four straight clean sheets and have not allowed a goal in the last 381 minutes and 59 seconds of game play.
The winner of Saturday's match will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA DIII Women's Soccer Tournament, with the runner-up needing to wait until the committee's selections the following day to determine if their season continues with a shot at a national championship.
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