NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Goalie Shelby Smith (Fr., San Diego, Calif.) made nine saves, including four in the decisive fourth quarter to allow her team to rally back from a 3-2 deficit, as Northwest Division Champion/No. 7-ranked the University of Washington topped North Atlantic Division Champion/Division III No. 2 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 5-3, to reach the Fifth Place game of the 2019 Women’s National Collegiate Club Championship at the University of Notre Dame’s Rolfs Aquatic Center.
The victory earns the Huskies a date with Midwest Division Champion/No. 11 Lindenwood University at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday, May 5, with a Top Five finish on the line. MIT will take on crosstown foe/New England Division Champion/No. 19 Boston College immediately before the Huskies-Lions clash at 9:00 a.m. for Seventh Place.
In a game which featured limited scoring until an offensive outburst by Washington over the final seven minutes to overcome a 3-2 deficit exiting the third quarter, neither team was able to solve their opposing goalie for the entirety of the opening frame of action.
Washington jumped on the scoreboard first as Natalie Erjavec (So., Mountain View, Calif.) slipped a ball into the twine 61 seconds into the second quarter to stake the Huskies to a 1-0 lead with 5:59 remaining in the first half. The Engineers found the solution prior to intermission, however, as Alexandrine Obrand (Jr, Montreal, Quebec) spun the ball into the cage with 1:42 on the clock to deadlock the teams after 14-minutes.
The Huskies pushed ahead once again with 4:13 left in the third quarter as Mary Elizabeth Ward (Sr., San Rafael, Calif.) converted a man-up opportunity to provide Washington a 2-1 lead. The margin would not hold up for the remainder of the frame, however, as Soumya Kannan (Gr., Palo Alto, Calif.) and Abby Smith (Gr., Sugar Land, Texas) solved for Y on back-to-back power-play bids at 2:30 and 1:04, respectively, to provide MIT a 3-2 lead after 21 minutes of play.
It would mark the only time the Engineers held an advantage on the scoreboard in the contest as Ward erased Washington’s deficit 23 seconds into the fourth quarter (6:37), Karli Stone (Jr., Tacoma, Wash.) pushed the Huskies ahead at 4-3 (3:23) and Erjavec added some insurance with one second remaining in the game for account for a 3-0 comeback run by Washington to capture the win.
For Washington, Ward and Erjavec both scored twice with Stone chipping in a solo marker.
MIT received single goals from Obrand, Smith and Kannan. Goalie Vivian Zhang (Sr., San Jose, Calif.) took the loss with 11 saves.
Washington’s berth in the Fifth Place game will allow the Huskies to have a chance at earning the program’s second Top Five finish at the Women’s National Collegiate Club Championship. The victor of the first Women’s National Collegiate Club Championship in 2000 with a 7-6 win in overtime against Michigan State University at the University of Arizona, the nine-time division champion (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) previously finished in First (2000), Sixth (2003), Seventh (2016, 2017, 2018), Eighth (2004) and 13th (2008) Place.
MIT, which previously finished Fifth (2005), Seventh (2006), Eighth (2007) and 12th (2017) in four prior trips to the National Collegiate Club Championship, will either add another Seventh or Eighth Place mark in its history depending on the outcome versus the Eagles of Boston College.