Beck header sends Eagles to NCAA Tournament
Courtesy of Edgewood College, Sports Information Department
AURORA, Ill. -- Edgewood College now has something on Aurora University that no other Northern Athletics Conference team has ever had: a winning streak. Fourteen days after ending the Spartans 37-game NAC winning streak, the Eagles did it again with a bigger prize on the line. Kelsey Beck headed home a Melinda Schwab cross as the first half wound to a close to give the Eagles a 1-0 victory in the NAC Tournament championship game and claim an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Through a very balanced first half, neither team had been able to generate a quality scoring opportunity. The Spartans had three shots which had resulted in one easy save for Eagle goalkeeper Ilana Bar-av.
With just under a minute to play in the half, Edgewood College earned their first corner kick of the day. Tammi Hagensick played the corner short to Schwab who sent a perfect cross to Beck located eight yards out from the near post. Beck leaped, turned and headed the ball squarely, over the head of Spartan goalkeeper Jenny Jarvis and under the cross bar for the only goal of the game.
The Spartans mounted an offensive attack through the middle part of the second half, getting off three shots, but Bar-av turned away two of them and finished with three saves for the game. For Bar-av, it was her 10th shutout of the season, as the Eagles have allowed just one goal in their last nine games, going 7-0-2 in that span.
In fact, over the final 15 minutes of the game most of the action occurred in the Spartans' defensive half of the field. With eight minutes to play, Beck had a golden opportunity to add an insurance goal when she broke loose from the Spartan defense and went in alone on a charging Jarvis. However, the Spartan keeper dove and deflected Beck's chip shot to the corner.
Edgewood College (16-3-2) advances to their fourth NCAA Tournament, but their first since 2001. Head Coach Tim Alexander's squad will learn their first round site and opponent on Monday at 11:00 a.m. via an NCAA web cast. The win also marked the Eagles' first conference tournament championship since winning the 2001 Lake Michigan Conference title.