By Caleb Scott
GENEVA, N.Y. — The No. 14-ranked Ohio Northern women's soccer team saw its historic season come to an end in the quarterfinal round of the 2017 NCAA Div. III Women's Soccer Tournament as it fell to No. 5-ranked Hardin-Simmons (Tex.) 1-0 on Sunday afternoon at Boswell Field in Geneva, N.Y.
The Polar Bears conclude their season at 20-2-2 overall, while the Cowgirls improve to 23-0-0 overall and advance to the Final Four in Greensboro, N.C.
The 2017 season saw many firsts for the Polar Bears as they advanced to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Div. III Tournament for the first time in school history.
ONU also broke the school record in shutouts in a single season and tied the school record for consecutive shutouts (7). Northern also saw numerous individual records fall.
In the eighth minute of the contest, sophomore Rose Nienaber (Cincinnati/Oak Hills) fired a shot from the left wing and nearly scored for ONU as the ball deflected off the far post.
Hardin-Simmons got on the board in the 63rd minute after a loose ball found the back of the net following a corner kick in the 63rd minute to give HSU a 1-0 lead.
Despite winning the shot total by a 6-5 margin, Northern was unable to find the back of the net. The Cowgirls won the corner kick battle by a 12-3 margin.
"This was a tough and very competitive game," said head coach Mark Batman. "Anytime you play back-to-back games against quality opponents like this it gets really tough. I thought we played good in the first half and had some good moments in the second half. Hardin-Simmons is a really tough team to break down and this is a great learning experience for this group. Our seniors have been fantastic. They talked about this their first year as freshmen and I'm really proud of what they have done over four years and the standard that they set here for the future teams."
Northern is now 4-4-1 all-time in the NCAA III Tournament after making its fourth appearance in the tournament.