Women's soccer: JHU claims conference crown, earns top NCAA seed

Blue Jays face Brooklyn College in first-round match Saturday

Junior Sydney Teng's goal in the 26th minute was all Johns Hopkins needed to win the 2013 Centennial Conference title Saturday and secure an automatic bid to the upcoming Division III NCAA women's soccer tournament.

Junior Hannah Kronick, the team's leading scorer, added a goal in the closing minutes of the first half—a left-footed shot past the keeper's outstretched hands—as the Blue Jays beat Haverford 2-0 to earn their ninth Centennial Championship and 11th overall conference championship in program history. Johns Hopkins dominated possession for most of the game and allowed six shots on goal.

Senior forward Kelly Baker was named the 2013 Centennial Conference tournament MVP after finishing with three goals and two assists. The Ridgefield, Conn., native scored her first career hat trick in the 8-0 victory over Muhlenberg in the tournament's first round.

The Blue Jays (18-1-1), ranked sixth nationally, impressed the tournament committee enough to earn a top seed in field of 64 and be named a host site for first- and second-round games. Johns Hopkins will face the Brooklyn College Bulldogs (15-3) in a first-round match on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Homewood Field. For Brooklyn College, the NCAA bid comes in only the second year of that soccer program's existence. Carnegie Mellon and York square off in Saturday's first match at 11 a.m., with the winners advancing to meet Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Johns Hopkins and the rest of the field will aim to dethrone Messiah, the two-time defending national champions. Messiah finished the season 18-2-1, with one of those losses coming at the hands of the Blue Jays. No. 1-ranked Washington University-St. Louis, which finished 17-1, is the tournament's top seed.

For Johns Hopkins to go deep into the NCAA tournament, the team will certainty lean on Kronick, a junior forward who this season became the all-time leader in Hopkins history in both goals and points, passing 2011 Academic All-District selection Erica Suter's career marks of 55 and 141. In 20 games this season, Kronick has tallied 19 goals and 9 assists.

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America named her the National Division III Player of the Week on three separate occasions this season, including on consecutive weeks Sept. 10 and 17. On Wednesday, she was named the Centennial Conference player of the year for the second year in a row.

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Tagged women's soccer