Ukena goal lift Baker women past Martin Methodist, 1-0
DECATUR, Ala. – The 13th-seeded Baker Universtiy women’s soccer team is headed back to the NAIA final round of eight after knocking off Martin Methodist University, 1-0, for the second consecutive season in the 2011 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship.
In a game that saw rain, wind and snow, the Baker women never flinched.
The Wildcats took a 0-0 tie into the break after being outshot by the Red Hawks 4-3. Goalkeeper Maggie Dupes made two key saves on point blank chances by Mor Efraim, but the momentum never seemed to shift.
“I told the girls at halftime that this would be a game they would remember for the rest of their lives,” assistant coach Davy Phillips said. “I thought the work rate was good in the first half and we needed to find some support off of Alix Schiraldi. That’s exactly what happened.”
In the 27th minute Schiraldi broke free from two defenders and sent a ball in deep to a streaking Ashley Ukena, who finished with a strike into the left side of the net to give Baker the 1-0 lead.
Heading down the stretch, Maggie Dupes stole the show making three more key saves, one of which came in the final 50 seconds on a shot that deflected off Dupes and hit the crossbar before Skylar Baker cleared the ball for a Baker victory.
“The girls knew it would be tough because of the conditions,” Phillips added. “It was a total team effort and the entire team battled through the elements.”
Fourth-seeded Martin Methodist (14-2-2) outshot the Wildcats 14-7 overall in the contest, but the game was even at 6-6 in shots on goal.
Baker returns to action on Wednesday. The Wildcats will face the winner of No. 5 Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) and Westmont (Calif.) set to be played at 4 p.m. Tuesday.