HAVERFORD, Pa. – The Haverford College women's soccer team qualified for the Centennial Conference Tournament on the final day of the regular season and will begin its journey towards a Centennial Conference Championship this Wednesday. The fifth-seeded Fords (8-5-3, 5-3-2 CC) open up their postseason at fourth-seeded Dickinson (10-3-4, 5-2-3 CC). That first round match will be played at 7 p.m. under the lights of Carlisle with Haverford looking to avenge a 1-0 overtime defeat from the regular season meeting.
Haverford will be making its 12th appearance in the Centennial Conference Tournament since 2004, a streak that now includes each of the last three seasons. The Fords won Centennial Conference Championships in 1995 and 2012. Wednesday's first round match will mark the first time that Haverford and Dickinson have ever met in a postseason contest.
The winner of Wednesday's match will advance to Saturday's Centennial Conference semifinal against top-seeded Johns Hopkins at 1 p.m. Second-seeded Swarthmore and third-seeded McDaniel will make up the other semifinal in Baltimore with the championship match slated for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. In Haverford's previous 11 conference tournament appearances, the Fords have made it to at least the semifinal round on eight occasions, including back-to-back championship match appearances in 2012 and 2013.
Haverford boasts a very experienced lineup with each of its 10 field players having started at least 14 matches this season. Of those regulars in the starting XI, the Fords' veteran lineup includes six seniors and four juniors. Eight of those players started all 16 matches during the regular season.
Even when the Fords do go to the bench, they feature a very deep team as 17 different players have recorded an offensive point this season. Sixteen different field players appeared in at least 10 matches throughout the course of the regular season. Katie Safter currently leads the Fords with five goals and three assists from her spot in the midfield. On the wings, Grace Mathis and Sydney West each have four goals. Leanne Ludwick, Kendra Griesman, and Mathis are all tied for the team lead with two game-winning goals.
Defensively, Kelly Brown, Abby Crowley, and Lindsay Wytkind have started all 16 matches, while Emily Thissen has started each of the 14 matches she appeared in this fall. Julie Hanss has seen the bulk of the action in goal with nine starts and a 0.91 GAA over nearly 800 minutes of game action. In the seven matches where each of those five defensive regulars players have started, the Fords have posted a shutout four times and have allowed more than one goal on just one occasion. That defensive unit has helped the Fords limit the opposition on the defensive end and create several opportunities in the attacking third. Haverford has twice as many corner kicks as its opposition and a more than a 2-1 advantage in shots on goal this fall.
The winner of the Centennial Conference Tournament will earn the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. The Fords earned the conference's automatic bid during the 2012 championship season and advanced to the national tournament with at-large bids during the 2005 and 2013 seasons.