Hawks stay composed, beat Knights to reach sweet 16

QU's Natalie Quisenberry, third from left, is congratulated after scoring a goal on a corner kick during the first half Saturday of the NCAA ll Midwest Regional at Legands Stadium in Quincy. | H-W Photo/Michael Kipley
Michael Kipley1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 12, 2017 12:01 am Updated: Nov. 12, 2017 1:48 am

QUINCY -- No panic, no fear and no way the Quincy University women's soccer team was going to lose on its own turf.

Despite becoming the first team to score against Bellarmine in regulation in the Knights' last 12 games, the Hawks couldn't hold the lead. The Knights scored on their only shot on goal in the second half, tying the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional semifinal at 1 in the 63rd minute at Legends Stadium.

Quincy shrugged it off as it had never happened.

"We played very composed," senior defender Maddy Kuhlenberg said. "This is probably the most composed I've ever seen us play."

It led to a remarkable finish.

With less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, Kuhlenberg carried the ball up the right sideline to the corner and crossed a pass through traffic to the back post. QU junior forward Cassidy Foley volleyed the ball out of mid-air, directing her shot into the net for the game-winning goal in the second-seeded Hawks' 2-1 victory.

"We kept our cool," Foley said. "We knew our game plan and we stuck with it. As you could see, we were moving the ball and wanted to play out wide. That's how the goal built up.

"We kept our calm even when they tied the game. That shows a lot of character in us."

The last thing QU coach Dave Musso wanted was the Hawks to change their approach after Bellarmine's goal because what they were doing was working.

Quincy outshot Bellarmine 22-5, owned a 7-0 edge in corner kicks and kept goalkeeper Megan Swanson from needing to touch the ball throughout the second half.

"It showed how focused we were, how prepared we were and we executed the game plan," said Musso, whose team went 8-0 at home this season. "We had to move the ball, win the ball in the middle, attack the flanks.

"We knew we had to play a certain way. We had confidence. We just stuck to the game plan."

It's put the Hawks (17-3-1) in the enviable position of having reached the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.

Quincy will face either top-seeded Grand Valley State (18-3) or fifth-seeded Ohio Dominican (16-4-2) in the regional finals. The date, time and site are to be determined. The Lakers and Panthers play their regional semifinal at noon Sunday in Allendale, Mich.

"I'm super grateful to be in this position," QU senior defender Natalie Quisenberry said. "This team is so special and I just freaking love them. I just want to keep it going."

Quisenberry did her part to make that happen.

In the 11th minute, Bellarmine was denied on the first real scoring chance of the game. A shot got past Swanson, but QU junior defender Gabby Orlando slid in from the backside and cleared the ball off the goal line to keep the game scoreless.

"You have to take a deep breath and reset," Quisenberry said.

Six minutes later, the Hawks reset the scoreboard.

After Foley carried the ball to the endline in a 1-on-1 situation and earned the Hawks a corner kick, Quisenberry lined up the corner from the left corner and curled it into the far side of the net for a 1-0 lead.

"I knew the wind was going to be pretty tricky, so I just kind of got really lucky," Quisenberry said. "I tried to hit it out more toward the PK box since the wind was blowing in."

Quisenberry called it lucky. Musso called it well-executed.

He said that about both goals that kept the season alive.

"That's preparation," Musso said. "We work on all that stuff."



NCAA Midwest Regional

Quincy 2, Bellarmine 1


5 Shots 22

6 Saves 1

0 Corners 7

13 Fouls 16

0 Offsides 2

Bellarmine 0 1--1

Quincy 1 1--2

Q--Natalie Quisenberry (corner kick), 17:41

B--Natalie Teo (Olivia Taylor, Polly Marino), 63:25

Q--Cassidy Foley (Maddy Kuhlenberg, Allison Birke), 80:48