Megan Wolf's main role for the Washington-St. Louis women's soccer team this fall was to come off the bench and help the Bears' formidable backline.
But the junior defender from Racine Prairie School ended up delivering her team its first national championship from the penalty spot. Wolf converted the winning kick as eighth-ranked Washington-St. Louis topped No. 6 Messiah, Pa., 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the NCAA Division III final on Dec. 3 in Salem, Va.
"I was lucky enough to be the last one. All the girls in front of me did their job and that is exactly what the team needed us to do," said Wolf, who had one assist in 24 appearances (three starts) for the Bears (18-2-4) this season. "This is something that every athlete has dreamed of since they were a little kid."
Washington-St. Louis made its first four kicks from the spot, while the Falcons' second shooter pinged her attempt off the crossbar. Junior defender Elise Brown (Madison West) also appeared in the final for the Bears, who lost in national championship games in 2009 and '15.
Wolf and Brown also came off the bench in Washington-St. Louis' 2-1 victory over No. 23 Brandeis, Mass., in the semifinals Dec. 2. Freshman defender Katie Hayes (Eau Claire Regis) also made an appearance for the Judges (16-3-4), who also had sophomore midfielder Haley Prudent (Madison Memorial) on their roster.
- Sophomore defender James Jeninga (Milwaukee Lutheran) and Calvin, Mich. lost to Tufts, Mass., 1-0 in double overtime in the NCAA Division III men's final on Dec. 3 in Salem, allowing the golden goal in the 104th minute. The 16th-ranked Knights (23-3-0) topped Brandeis 1-0 in the semifinals Dec. 2, while Tufts held off St. Thomas, Minn. 2-1. Junior midfielder Alex Schnobrich (Hudson) assisted on the lone goal for the eighth-ranked Tommies (20-2-3), who had 12 state players on their roster. Jeninga didn't appear in either match for Calvin.
- Second-ranked No. 2 Wingate, N.C., blanked No. 4 Charleston, W.Va., 2-0 in the NCAA Division II men's final on Dec. 3 in Kansas City. Freshman forward Frankie Herrera (Madison West) didn't make an appearance for the Golden Eagles (19-3-2) on the weekend. Charleston edged No. 6 Rockhurst, Mo., 2-1 in the semifinals Dec. 1 – junior striker Charles Salazar (Racine Prairie School) plays for the Hawks (18-3-3), but didn't see action in the match.
- Former UW-Green Bay men's coach Tom Poitras will be inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame next month. Poitras led the Phoenix to a 72-46-18 record, including an NCAA tournament berth in 2009, during his seven seasons in Green Bay (2004 to '10) before taking over at Hartford. A Connecticut native, he also won an NCAA Division II national title as a player at Southern Connecticut State in 1987. On Twitter: @HHawksSocCoach