Women’s soccer finishes as national runner-up

Goalkeeper Conner sets program record for total and single-season shutouts

women's soccer
Bears defender Regan Cannon competes during the national championship game Dec. 2 against California Lutheran University. (Photo courtesy of WashU Athletics)

A memorable season came to a heartbreaking close for the Washington University in St. Louis women’s soccer team Dec. 2, as the Bears lost the NCAA Division III national championship game 1-0 to California Lutheran University.

The Regals scored what stood as the game winner at the 16:39 mark of the first half when Isabella Veljacic fired off a high corner shot to make it 1-0. WashU had opportunities to tie the game but couldn’t capitalize. The Bears’ best chance came in the 61st minute, when junior Sara Gianotti drilled a hard shot that just missed, hitting off the post and bouncing away.

“I thought we were going to get one, and even when they scored I wasn’t too worried,” WashU coach Jim Conlon told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We have the offensive power to get it, but when it’s 1-0 and you’re chasing a game it allows the other team to shrink and protect. We had some chances, and that was the mentality in the second half.”

Goalkeeper Sidney Conner, defender Ally Hackett, a graduate student, and midfielder Grace Ehlert, a sophomore, were named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team. The contest marked the third time in program history the Bears have finished as national runner-up. The team won the national championship in 2016.

WashU finished the season 17-2-4, which included a 12-0 start and a 15-game unbeaten streak. Conner, a senior in psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences, had a stellar season in the net, finishing with 34 career shutouts, a WashU record. She also set a record for single-season shutouts with 16; tied for fourth with 36 career wins; and finished sixth in goals-against average (0.61) and sixth in career saves (153).

The Bears women’s soccer team and university leaders celebrate the team’s storied season, finishing as Division III national runner-up. (Photo courtesy of WashU Athletics)
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