The women’s soccer team won home matches against Washington University of St. Louis and the University of Chicago to clinch the University Athletic Association title last weekend. The league title gives UR an automatic bid to the NCAA Div. III Tournament.

Senior midfielder Loren Cerami scored her first two goals of the season to lead UR to a 2-1 win over Washington on Friday.

Cerami received a pass from sophomore midfielder Sarah Crimmins at the top of the box and fired a shot into the left corner of the goal with 20 minutes left in the first half.

Cerami banged her second goal into the top of the net after sophomore forward Alison Collins tapped the ball in front of the goal five minutes into the second half.

“Since we have such strong forwards, distributing the ball is definitely our main goal in the middle,” said Cerami, who is one of the three team captains. “There aren’t always great opportunities to score from the midfield. I was just in the right place at the right time a couple times.”

That win set up an emotional Senior Day on Sunday against Chicago.

Flower presentation

The juniors on the team gave each of the three senior captains ? Cerami, forward Christine Sipala and stopper Jen Seferiadis ? a bouquet of flowers before UR’s 3-1 league-clinching victory.

“It was very emotional, because it’s kind of the culmination of four years coming together,” Seferiadis said. “It was very dramatic to win and win the conference and know that we’re going to the tournament.”

Sipala received a pass on the left side from sophomore back Jenica Schmidt and looked to find an open teammate. When she didn’t see one, she drove past the defender and blasted a shot into the far corner of the net 45 seconds into the game.

Freshman forward Portia Bridges slipped a rebound past Chicago goalkeeper Laura DeTar with six minutes left in the first half after a strike from freshman forward Kristin Kelly was too hard to control.

Kelly scored on an empty net 22 minutes into the second half to give UR a 3-0 lead.

Sophomore midfielder Liz Morrison crossed the ball into the box and it took a weird bounce. DeTar dove to pick it up, but she missed and Kelly controlled the loose ball.

The forwards provided plenty of offense, but the defense set the tone for the game. Chicago only took seven shots and never had a good scoring chance.

“Jenica Schmidt and [junior back] Amy Kelmenson were outstanding today,” head coach Terry Gurnett said. “They played marking back the way it’s supposed to be played. When we were back on our heels, they kept us in it.”

Chicago’s only goal came when a shot from Christine Carqueville slipped right through sophomore goalie Sarah Malecki’s hands and into the net with one minute left in the game.

Gurnett took the three seniors out of the game together for the final time to a huge round of applause with eight minutes remaining.

“That was very cool,” Seferiadis said. “Terry definitely did that on purpose.”

Tournament history

UR is 6-0 in the UAA and 11-3 overall. This is the ninth time the women have won the UAA and they are going to the NCAA tournament for the 13th time. They won the NCAA Championship in 1986 and 1987 and finished second in 1991.

“Considering that New York is one of the strongest regions, our first couple games are probably going to be really tough,” Cerami said.

“But if we get out of the region I have confidence that we can probably take on anyone.”

UR has qualified for the playoffs, but the regular season is not over yet. The Yellowjackets travel to Massachusetts to face Brandeis University ? their final UAA opponent ? in the last game of the season at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

“Our goal is to beat every UAA team, so we’re not done yet,” Sipala said. “But it’s nice to have that win and know we’re going to the tournament.”

Jacobs can be reached at

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