WICHITA – Sometimes soccer is a game of inches.
That wasn’t any more evident than on Wednesday night in the KCAC Women’s Soccer semifinal in the indoor facility at Stryker Sports Complex.
Kansas Wesleyan’s Ashley Quintanilla (JR/Bakersfield, Calif.) sent a shot from 55 yards out up nearly missing the roof, and back down just under the crossbar and beyond the outstretched hands of Avila’s Madison Baker to give KWU a 1-0 win over Avila.
The win advances KWU to the KCAC Tournament Championship match for the 15th time in the last 16 years, where they’ll face top seed Oklahoma Wesleyan on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Stryker Sports Complex. KWU also receives a berth in the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round by virtue of the KCAC qualification plan for women’s soccer.
The goal came in the 82nd minute after an Avila goal kick bounced off an Avila player and right to Quintanilla who sent it towards goal.
KWU had a few great chances to score goals but were unable to find the net on those shots.
Marissa Morales (SR/La Puente, Calif.) had a chance in the ninth minute, but Avila was able to make a great save on the play.
The Coyotes had chances again in the 16th and 21st, also saved. The Coyotes’ best first half chance came by Krysta Catone (SR/Chino Hills, Calif.) in the 43rd, but Baker made the save to keep the match scoreless.
Lissette Garcia (JR/Bakersfield, Calif.) nearly lit the lamp in the 51st minute taking a shot from the right flank that careened off the far post and out.
Alex Liles (FR/Salina, Kan.) had an outstanding shot in the 77th minute that was saved.
Daisy Bingham (JR/Huntington Beach, Calif.) then stepped up big for the Coyote defense, stopping a pair of point-blank Avila shots right in front of the goal to keep the match scoreless.
Then came the goal. After a failed corner by the Coyotes, Baker send the ball back into the center of the pitch, where it bounced off an Avila player and right to Quintanilla for the shot.
Three minutes later Quintanilla nearly duplicated the feat. After a foul by Avila, Quintanilla sent the direct kick into the goal and again tried to slide it in under the crossbar, but Baker was able to knock it away at the last moment.
KWU’s defense stepped up down the stretch as well as the defense stopped shots by Avila, including a huge team save in the final minute to preserve the shutout.
KWU outshot Avila 23-8 in the match. Crystal Marquez (JR/Lynwood, Calif.) and Garcia led the way with four shots each. Kayla Deaver (JR/Lee’s Summit, Mo.) and Quintanilla had three each. Bingham had three saves to preserve the clean sheet.
Opening Round site assignments and first-round pairings will be announced by the NAIA National Office on Monday at 11 a.m.