PAC Women’s Soccer Championship Preview

by John D’Abruzzo

For the third consecutive year, the Presidents’ Athletic Conference women’s soccer championship will be decided between Thomas More College and Grove City College.

This year’s title match will be held in Pittsburgh at Highmark Stadium on the South Side. The women’s game has been set for 3 p.m. and will follow the men’s championship game, which starts at noon. Coincidently, the men’s game also will feature Thomas More and Grove City.

The PAC men’s and women’s championship games will both be broadcast live on the PAC Sports Network at

As the top two teams in the women’s conference tournament, Thomas More (19-1) and Grove City (9-9-2) each punched their ticket into the championship contest following semifinal wins on Wednesday. While top-seeded Thomas More cruised past Washington & Jefferson, 5-0, Grove City worked extra hard to beat Westminster.


GCC Freshman Lacy Harkrader

The Wolverines battled through a scoreless double-overtime draw before winning 7-6 in a nine-round shootout. Grove City freshman forward Lacy Harkrader (Mineral, Va.) ended up with the game-winning goal. She broke a 6-6 tie in the shootout after No. 3 Westminster missed its final shot.

Sophomore Lindsey Reichert (Northbridge, Mass.), freshman Megan Van Kirk (Allison Park, Pa.), junior Sammie Wild (Carmel, Ind.), junior Kristin Thomas (Ellicott City, Md.), sophomore Jordyn White (Mars, Pa) and junior Abby Mathes (Charlottesville, Va.) each scored for Wolverines during the shootout.

During the regulation and overtime sessions, Grove City outshot Westminster, 15-13. Grove City’s senior goalkeeper Kristi Lathrop (Flemington, N.J.) stopped five shots on net.

Three-time defending champion Thomas More posted its fourth shutout victory of the season by blanking No. 4 Washington & Jefferson.

Junior forward Olivia Huber (Woodlawn, Ky.) put the Saints on the board at the 1:54 minute mark when she headed in a corner kick by senior defender Emily Sanker (Alexandria, Ky.). Huber helped Thomas More take a 2-0 lead with an assist to freshman forward Julia Echols-Flagge (Colerain, Ohio) at 15:10. Thomas More took a 3-0 lead into the half after freshman midfielder Ally Wimmers (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored off an assist from freshman forward Abby Stadtmiller (Alexandria, Ky.) at the 41:14.

The Saints, who are ranked No. 10 in the country, jumped out to a 4-0 advantage at 52:32 when the ball bounced off a W&J player. Flagge-Echols helped seal the victory with an assist to Stadtmiller, who scored at the 62:07 mark.

Thomas More outshot W&J, 28-1. Sophomore goalkeeper Megan Barton (Florence, Ky.) earned the win and recorded one save. She played the first half, while sophomore Christy Smith (Washington Courthouse, Ohio) played the final 45 minutes in net.

The Saints enter the championship game riding an impressive 10-game winning streak. Each of those victories were by way of a shutout. Thomas More, which has surrendered only two goals in 20 games, hasn’t lost since dropping a 1-0 decision against non-conference Ohio Northern on Sept. 27.

TMC Junior Olivia Huber

TMC Junior Olivia Huber

Huber, a 5-foot-9 junior, has been a guiding force behind the Saints’ high-powered offense. She has been named the conference player of the week six times this season. Huber also set a new program record with 31 goals during the regular season.

Grove City, however, has a variety of scorers in freshman midfielder Katherine Kouzelos (five goals, three assists), Mathes (five goals, two assists), Thomas (five goals, two assists) and Harkrader (five goals, two assists).

Behind nine-year coach Jeff Cummings, who also is the head coach of the men’s team at Thomas More, the Saints looks to secure a fourth-straight league title and fifth since joining the conference. Grove City hasn’t won a women’s crown since 2001 and is coached by Melissa Lamie, who is in her 22nd season with the Wolverines.

These two teams recently met in a regular-season finale on Nov. 1. Thomas More’s Kait Owens (Cold Springs, Ky.), a junior midfielder, and Huber each scored during the Saints’ 2-0 win against the Wolverines.

Thomas More is 10-2-4 all-time against Grove City. The winner of the PAC championship game will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships next week.

Admission for this conference championship game, as well as the men’s game, is $5. If you can’t make it to the game, the title tilt will be broadcast live on the PAC Sports Network at