By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, Ohio---Elizabeth Theaker's (Maumee/Maumee, Ohio) first half goal ended up being the game-winner as the No. 19 Express women's soccer team defeated Cincinnati State Technical and Community College 2-0 in the Region XII championship game.
Theaker juked a defender and lofted a 25-yard shot over Cincinnati State's Kelsie Lee at the 20:51 mark to give the Express an early lead.
That came after Jill Burkholder (Bryan/Bryan, Ohio) saw Lee stop a shot on goal and a penalty kick in the game's first 20 minutes.
With Cincinnati State pressing late in the game, Jessica Grindle (Northwood/Northwood, Ohio) took a pass from Haley Gasser (Northview/Sylvania, Ohio) at the 85:15 mark and deposited it into the right corner of the net to seal the game.
Erika Brinkman (Kalida/Cloverdale, Ohio) started in goal for the Express and made five saves. She produced two shutouts in the tournament.
Lee stopped six shots for Cincinnati State, who finishes the season 11-7.
Grindle's goal was her 21st of the season, which ties the program mark for the second most goals in a single season (Kendra Eitniear, 2011). She was named the tournament MVP.
Theaker's goal was her third of the season, and she was selected to the all-tournament team.
Gasser's assist was her her 11th of the season. She increased her program record career total to 27.
Burkholder and Brinkman were also named to the all-tournament team.
The Express have now won 15 straight matches, which extends a program record. They also won their 17th game, which is the most any soccer program (men's or women's) has won at Owens.
With the win, the No. 19 Express (17-2) advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) D-I National Tournament in Melbourne, Fla. Nov. 18-23. The tournament, which features a pool play and championship round, will have the top 12 teams in the nation competing for a national title.
While Grindle was named the tournament MVP, other members of the Region XII All-Tournament team included: Megan Helpap (Delta), Destiny Wallace (Delta), Kelli McKay (Schoolcraft), Jessica Perry (Schoolcraft), Amber Boehm (Cincinnati State), Deandre Criddell (Cincinnati State), Jodi Offutt (Cincinnati State), Burkholder, Brinkman and Theaker.