Spartans capture NAC women's soccer tournament crown in thriller over Stars

Courtesy of Aurora University, Sports Information Department

AURORA, Ill. -- The Aurora University Spartan women's soccer team captured a nail-biting victory over the Dominican University Stars, 1-0, in double overtime in the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament final on Friday afternoon at Vago Field.

With the victory, the Spartans receive the Northern Athletics Conference automatic bid to the 2009 NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship Tournament. The teams played a physical, evenly matched contest as both teams had scoring opportunities throughout the double overtime affair.

The Spartans struck the first and final blow 3:20 into the second overtime, when Spartan freshman defender Britney Schenck took a corner kick that connected with senior forward Jessica Novickas. Novickas' shot deflected off a Star defender and trickled over the goal line before Dominican senior goalkeeper Jacqui Lani could corral the shot.

The goal by Novickas was her 11th of the season and gave the Spartans the hard fought win.

The Stars had their best chance to end the contest in the first overtime, when Dominican had a free kick inside the box that was blocked by a group of Spartans, with the ball eventually being cleared out.

The first and second half saw both teams with outstanding scoring chances only to be denied by the fantastic goalkeeper play of Spartan freshman Liz Wong and Lani.

The Spartans and Stars did all they could to get their offense's going but the opposing defense's were suffocating and able to shut down any goal scoring chance.

The Spartans took 18 shots in the game to the Stars nine, with AU holding a nine to three advantage in shots on goal. Wong (13-4, nine shutouts) went the distance in goal for the Spartans as did Lani (8-7) for the Stars.

With the win, the Spartans (16-5 overall, 11-0 NAC) who won the regular season NAC championship for the fourth straight season, will wait until Sunday, November 8, 2009 to find out who they will their season against in the 2009 NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Tournament.