ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. – The sixth-seeded York College women's soccer team surprised second-seeded St. Mary's College 2-1 in the Capital Athletic Conference Championship Tournament semifinals on Tuesday afternoon.
The Spartans advanced to the CAC title game for the sixth time in program history.
The Spartans (8-10) remained a perfect 8-0 this season when scoring multiple goals in a contest and when scoring the first goal of the game. York ended the season for St. Mary's (10-7), which entered the tournament as a winner in seven of its last eight games, including a 2-1 overtime victory over the Spartans last week. The win also marks the first time York has defeated St. Mary's in the CAC playoffs in four meetings all-time.
Strong start: The Spartans' first goal came in the 20th minute when senior captain Jamie Sokolis stepped in front of her defender and headed in a perfectly placed cross by Baylee DiPietro from the left side. The goal by Sokolis gives her three on the year and is the first goal of her career in the CAC Tournament.
York tacked on another tally nearly 10 minutes later when freshman Emily Huey received an assist from Corie Elliott that sprung her into a shooting position on the right side for the goal. Huey moved into a three-way tie for first on the team with four goals, while Elliott now leads the team with nine points.
The Spartan defensive unit excelled in the first half by limiting the quality chances for St. Mary's. The backline broke up any runs the Seahawks had toward the goal and goalkeeper Kate Lutte made the saves when tested.
The Spartans did not waste their shots in the first half, putting five of their six on goal.
Second half: The Seahawks showed signs of life when they stunned the Spartans with a goal less than two minutes into the second half. The tally came courtesy of the CAC's leading scorer, Gillian Sawyer, who improved her conference-best goal total to 18 and point total to 40.
York had a prime opportunity to get that goal back in the 61st minute when Elliott had a one-on-one with a Seahawk defender, but had the ball knocked away. Sokolis, however, gained possession and put a shot on goal. The keeper came out to make the save, but had to quickly scramble to secure possession after the ball trickled toward the yawning net after she did not initially make a clean save.
Neither team mounted much of a quality chance for the remainder of the contest. The Seahawks did have possession in their attacking third for most of the final three minutes, but the Spartan defensive unit broke up and disrupted any chance that St. Mary's started to develop.
York held St. Mary's to nine shots. The Seahawks had averaged 15.2 shots per game and 2.11 goals per game for the year. The two teams finished tied, 9-9, in total shots, while the Seahawks held a 6-0 advantage in corner kicks.
St. Mary's entered the postseason tied for the best conference record at 8-1, while the Spartans grabbed the final playoff spot with a CAC record of 4-5. In the all-time series between these two programs, St. Mary's now holds a 13-8-3 record with a 2-1-1 record in CAC Tournament play.
Title game: York advances to the CAC Championship on Saturday and will travel to face No. 5 seed Mary Washington (10-8-2), which upset top-seeded Christopher Newport (14-5-1) on Tuesday, 1-0. The Spartans have advanced to the title game five times before this season have won the title twice (2008, 2013). Mary Washington beat York during the regular season, 2-1.
Game time for Saturday will be announced a later in the week.