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Virginia Wesleyan women top off undefeated regular season with Bowers’ 200th win

On a night when the Virginia Wesleyan College women’s soccer capped an undefeated Old Dominion Athletic Conference season with a 4-1 victory over Roanoke College’s Maroons, the Marlins helped head coach Jeff Bowers hit a coaching milestone.

Virginia Wesleyan scored five minutes into Saturday’s game on Foster Field at the Trinder Center and went on to post the win that improved the Marlins’ final league mark to 11-0-1.

It marked the fifth undefeated league season for VWC in the past 10 seasons and gives Virginia Wesleyan the No. 1 seed and home berth in the ODAC championship tournament, which begins with quarterfinals on Saturday, Oct. 27.

More impressively, the victory pushes Bowers’ career win total to 200.  He now owns a 200-49-2 record, all at Virginia Wesleyan.  Bowers, who has the rare task of coaching both the men’s and women’s teams at VWC this season, entered Saturday’s game ranked No. 23 in winning percentage among all active coaches in all NCAA divisions.  He is also No. 12 among all active Division III women’s mentors.

Virginia Wesleyan (16-0-1), currently ranked No. 5 nationally, hit the scoreboard first when senior Christina Fernandes (Tinton Falls, N.J./Tinton Falls) scored from five yards out off a cross from senior Breanne Ingargiola (Bayport, N.Y./Bayport-Blue Point) with just 5:08 elapsed in the game.

But, Roanoke (9-6-2, 7-3-1) answered quickly. Carmen Graves (Christiansburg/Christiansburg) evened the score just two minutes later, taking a pass from Stephanie Parenteau (Virginia Beach/Floyd E. Kellam) and heading the ball up and over the goalie for the score.

Roanoke’s time to celebrate the goal was short-lived however, as Virginia Wesleyan regained the lead just 24 seconds after the Maroons score.  It was Fernandes scoring a second time, this time hitting on the run from 10 yards out, set up by a pass from senior Krista Witmer (Lancaster, Pa./Millersville).

The Marlins pushed out to a 3-1 lead five minutes later when Ingargiola followed her own shot and ripped it past the goalie in the 13th.  Her first shot hit the crossbar and bounced back to her for the shot and score.

Virginia Wesleyan rode the two-goal lead through halftime and into the second half when senior All-American Jessica Edelman (Voorhees, N.J./Eastern Regional) stretched the score to 4-1.  She hit in the 59th minute, scoring on the right side from about 10 yards out.

Virginia Wesleyan limited Roanoke to just one shot in the second half and only four for the game.  The Marlins finished with 18 shots and a 4-2 edge in corner kicks.

Junior Erica Keil (Wayne, N.J./DePaul Catholic) recorded one save in 90 minutes of goalie action for VWC.  Carolyn Sarbacher (Dunkirk, Md./Northern) recorded five saves for Roanoke.

Virginia Wesleyan closes the regular season on Wednesday, Oct. 24, in St. Mary’s City, Maryland, facing the Seahawks of St. Mary’s College in a non-conference contest beginning at 4 p.m.

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