With a trip to the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Final Four on the line, the Centre women’s soccer team made history on Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, Pa., posting a dominant 4-0 victory over No. 20 Calvin College (21-3-2). With the win, the Colonels secured the first final four trip in program history and the first by any Centre team since 1989-90, when the women’s basketball team earned a spot in the national semifinals.
No. 9 Centre (21-1-1), now with a program record 21 wins, will play on Friday, Dec. 4, at 2:30 p.m. EST at the Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City. The Colonels will take on the winner of Sunday’s Elite Eight game between No. 3 William Smith and No. 6 Williams.
Making an Elite Eight appearance for the second-straight season under head coach Jay Hoffman, Centre jumped out to a quick lead on Saturday when junior forward Destinie Graves (Lexington, Ky.) found the back of the net with a beautiful strike from the top of the box for a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
That was not the last time the Calvin defense would hear from Graves, but it was senior forward Alex Combs (Danville, Ky.) that quickly gave Centre some breathing room with her 13th goal of the season. In the 18th minute, Combs took the ball down the left side before drilling a diagonal shot into the far post for a 2-0 advantage.
Centre needed a couple of brilliant saves from junior goalkeeper Olivia Alford (Louisville, Ky.) to keep that margin heading into halftime. Alford finished with six saves in the contest and helped the Colonel defense post a shutout for the second-straight day.
Just five minutes into the second half, Graves found space near the top of the box and fired a powerful strike that hit the bottom of the crossbar and found the goal. The 51st-minute goal, which was assisted by sophomore midfielder Nancy Ingham (Boulder, Colo.), gave the Colonels a 3-0 lead.
With everything seemingly decided except the final score, Graves put the finishing touches on the historic win with a goal in the 81st minute. The junior made a nice touch past the final defender and beat the keeper 1-on-1 to complete the hat trick.
Graves’ third goal of the game was also the 26th of the season for the Southern Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year, tying the program record for goals in a season (Sara Morgan, 1998). Ingham assisted on the goal, her third of the game.
VIDEO: Centre Women’s Soccer Team Makes History
by Centre Athletics
November 21, 2015