La Salle Wins A-10 Women's Soccer Title on Double-Overtime Golden Goal

By Atlantic 10 Conference
Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference


RICHMOND, Va. -- Maci Bower turned a back-heel pass from her sister Madison into La Salle's third Atlantic 10 Conference Women's Soccer title, scoring a double-overtime golden goal to lift the top-seeded Explorers to a 1-0 victory over VCU in the A-10 Championship match Sunday at Sports Backers Stadium.

It's the third women's soccer title since 2012 for La Salle (17-3-2), which advances to the NCAA Tournament on the league's automatic bid. The NCAA Selection Show is scheduled for 4:30 pm Monday.

Madison Bower corralled a bouncing ball in the forward midfield and turned on the ball to keep it away from the VCU defender. With her back to the goal, Madison Bower flicked the ball with her back heel to the top of the box, where a hard-charging Maci Bower had gotten in front of her defender, setting up a one-on-one with VCU keeper Audrey Sanderson. Despite Sanderson's valiant effort to deflect the ball, Maci Bower's shot found the back of the net. In addition to securing a championship, the sisters' efforts also earned them both a spot on the All-Championship team.

The sixth-seeded Rams (11-6-3) entered the day looking for their first-ever title and controlled the pitch offensively from kick-off. VCU had a whopping 29 shots in the game, 23 of which game in regulation. The Rams' aggressive push forced La Salle keeper Larissa Zambelli to have a spectacular day in net, stopping 14 shots in the 108 minutes, which equaled the A-10 Championship record, set by Duquesne's Vanessa Perdom in 2015. Zambelli earned the championship's Most Outstanding Player honors.

In contrast to VCU, La Salle only had five shots in regulation, but ramped it up in overtime, with seven shots to six by the Rams. Sanderson made six total saves through regulation and overtime. VCU led in corners 9-6.

La Salle goalkeeper Larisa Zambelli tied an Atlantic 10 Championship single-game record with 14 saves in Sunday's championship game to earn the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award.

The two teams played scoreless through regulation, although VCU outshot the Explorers 23-5 in the first 90 minutes. La Salle had seven of their 12 shots for the game in extra time.

The 2017 NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship bracket will be announced the Monday prior to the first-round of competition. Thirty-two First Round games will be conducted at non-predetermined campus sites from November 10-12. The winning team from each game will advance to the second round.

Joining Zambelli and the Bowers on the All-Championship team were La Salle's Katherine Hennessey and Kristin Haugstad, and Susannah Friedrichs, Tori Browne and Megan Dell from VCU. Alexis Kiehl from Dayton, Saint Joseph's Grace Bendon and Duquesne's Katie O'Connor were also named to the All-Championship team.

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