NCAA Round of 16 Pits Lions Against Mountaineers
The Lions face 4th-ranked West Virginia in the NCAA Tournament Third Round Sunday.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The historic season continues for LMU women's soccer as it makes its first-ever Sweet 16 appearance, advancing to the NCAA Tournament's third round on Sunday, Nov. 22. The Lions will face 4th-ranked West Virginia at 1 p.m. Eastern Time at Dick Dleck Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
LIONS' LAST LINE
LMU kept its historic season rolling with a 1-0 victory against Minnesota in the NCAA Tournament Second Round Friday in Morgantown, W.V. Sarah Sanger provided the heroics, scoring just 4:16 into play off a pass from Morgan Hilby. The goal was Sanger's fourth of the season and her third game-winner. Goalkeeper Charlee Pruitt and the LMU defensive line held strong for a third consecutive shutout, and seventh shutout in the last eight outings.
LIONS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Lions earned their first-ever NCAA Tournament victories this fall, moving them to 2-2 all-time in postseason play. A win over No. 17 Cal, 1-0, in the tournament's first round, was followed by a 1-0 shutout of Minnesota in the second round. LMU has two previous appearances in the NCAA Tournament, making the field of 64 in 2002 and 2006. In 2002, the Lions faced crosstown rival UCLA in the first round, falling 4-0. In 2006, LMU hosted a first-round game against Cal State Fullerton, falling 3-0.
A RECORD YEAR
The 2015 season has been a record-setting one for the Lions. Their 15-5-1 overall record sets a program record, surpassing the previous record for wins (13), set in 1999. Their seven West Coast Conference wins is an all-time record, while their tie for second place matches the highest finish ever (also achieved in 2000). The Lions went a perfect 10-0 on Sullivan Field in 2015, making the second time they have gone undefeated at home (6-0-4 in 1998) and the second time they reached 10 home victories (10-1-0 in 2007). Senior Jocelyn Blankenship also had a record breaking season of her own, as she has reached 20 assists for her career, setting an LMU all-time record.
In her fourth year at the helm of the program and 20th season overall at LMU, Head Coach Michelle Myers was named the WCC Coach of the Year, the first such honor for a Lion leader. Also earning a major award is senior Callie Taylor, who was named Co-Defender of the Year. Seniors Jocelyn Blankenship and Morgan Hilby earned All-WCC First Team honors and Taylor was also named to the All-WCC Second Team. Senior Shannon Kent and sophomore Sarah Sanger earned Honorable Mention selection while a trio of freshmen - goalkeeper Charlee Pruitt, defender Gabbie Sanfilippo and midfielder Emma Tyrnauer were named to the WCC All-Freshman Team.
ABOUT THE WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (18-2-1)
West Virginia moved to 18-2-1 on the year with a 4-0 shutout of Northwestern on Friday. The Mountaineers have now outscored their NCAA Tournament opponents 8-0. WVU is a No. 2 national seed in the tournament and also hold a No. 4 rank in the latest polls. WVU has scored 56 goals this season while allowing just seven. Leading the way is Michaela Abam with 11 goals while Kailey Utley has nine goals and six assists. The duo lead the team with 24 points apiece. In goal, Hannah Steadman has a 0.35 GAA to go along with 12 solo shutouts and three shared with teammate Michelle Newhouse.
WHEN LAST WE MET
The Lions and Mountaineers have faced off once in program history. The teams went head-to-head on Aug. 31, 2008, at the Inn at Saint Mary's Classic in South Bend, Ind. Then-11th-ranked West Virginia claimed a 1-0 victory in the neutral site meeting.
Jocelyn Blankenship leads LMU with 20 points on seven goals and six assists.
Blankenship collected her 19th career assist on Sarah Sanger's game-winner against Pepperdine on Nov. 7. That assist broke the previous LMU single-season record of 18, held Julie Gallaudet (2007-10).
Fourteen different Lions have scored at least once this season and 12 players have contributed at least one assist. LMU made history on Friday, Oct. 23, as a 1-0 victory over Portland gave the Lions their first ever win in the 23-year all-time series. The game-winning goal by Morgan Hilby also snapped a nearly 14 year drought of goals scored against the Pilots.
LMU has two wins over ranked opponents this season. The first was a 1-0 OT victory over then No. 21 Long Beach State marked the first win against a ranked opponent since a 3-0 shutout of then No. 15 Pepperdine on Oct. 15, 2012. The Lions went on to top No. 17 Cal in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Lions went unbeaten for seven straight matches between Aug. 28 (a 3-0 shutout of Bucknell) and Sept. 20 (a 2-2 double overtime draw at Utah.
The Lions six-match win streak marking the longest win streak for the program since 2007. That season, they won nine straight matches and went on to finish the year 12-6-1.
Sophomore defender Jill Farley was named WCC Player of the Week on Sept. 14 after playing all 187 minutes in a pair of LMU shutouts. She also scored the overtime game-winner against then No. 21/23 Long Beach State.
The Lions are 3-0-1 in overtime matches this season. That mark extends their streak of remaining unbeaten in overtime to 10 matches (spanning two-plus seasons). Their last overtime setback was a 1-0 final against then No. 4 BYU on Nov. 1, 2012.
LMU has scored five goals in a match twice this season (Oct. 25 vs Gonzaga, Sept. 4 vs Detroit), marking the highest scoring output for LMU since 2007 when they shutout Lamar University, 9-0.
The home-opening win over Bucknell (Aug. 28) gave the Lions three straight home-opening victories as they also topped Northwestern, 1-0, in 2013 and New Mexico State, 3-1, in 2014.
Senior midfielder Jocelyn Blankenship was named to the 2015 All-WCC Preseason Team.
LMU was picked seventh in the West Coast Conference Preseason Coaches Poll.
The Lions went 9-8-2 overall and 2-6-1 in WCC play last season with a young squad that featured just three seniors. Seniors Morgan Hilby (5g, 6a), Shannon Kent (6g) and Jocelyn Blankenship (6a) return to the pitch after leading LMU in points, goals and assists last fall.
Ten total starters return and 15 total letterwinners while the Lions also welcome nine newcomers and four redshirts.
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