TOLEDO, OH - Top-seed Toledo captured its league-record fourth Mid-American Conference Tournament championship with a 1-0 shutout victory over No. 3 seed Western Michigan on Sunday at Scott Park. 2011 MAC Offensive Player of the Year Rachel MacLeod scored the match's lone goal in the 69th minute to propel the Rockets back to the NCAA Women's Soccer Championships for the first time since 2008. UT also becomes the first team in MAC history to win four tourney crowns (2006, ‘07, ‘08, ‘11), surpassing Miami who won three titles (2000, ‘01, ‘02).
MacLeod netted her team-best 11th goal of the season off a corner kick at 68:01 to send the Toledo bench and fans into a frenzy. Junior Natalia Gaitan started the play with a well-struck free kick into the heart of the WMU goalbox to senior Danielle Case. The tri-captain then redirected the ball toward the near post to MacLeod, who flicked it with her right foot past WMU goalkeeper Michelle Watson to register the first goal against the visitors in the last seven matches.
With the shutout victory, the Rockets improve to 14-6-2 on the season. UT was the top seed for the eight-team tournament for the second-consecutive year, topping No. 8 seed Ohio, 8-0, and No. 5 seed Buffalo, 3-1, to reach the finals. The Midnight Blue & Gold wrapped up the 2011 tourney with a combined 12 goals scored, eight assists and 32 total points, ranking third-best in all marks in MAC history. Western Michigan sees its season end at 14-8-0. UT will learn its NCAA Championships first-round opponent on Monday, Nov. 7, with the selection announcement being made on ncaa.com at approximately 4:30 p.m.
UT controlled the pace of today's match throughout and finished with a 14-4 advantage in shots, as well as a sizable 7-1 edge in corner kicks.
Toledo senior netminder Vicki Traven was called up to make only one save between the posts to collect her MAC-record 33rd career shutout, while WMU's Watson was credited with five stops at the other end.
Senior Ana Reynolds, senior Kristen Lynn, Gaitan and MacLeod all represented UT on the MAC All-Tournament Team, while WMU's Anina Cicerone, Caitlin Henderson and Watson joined them on the squad. Rounding out the all-tourney team were Buffalo's Danielle Turner and Ainsley Wheldon, along with Central Michigan's Jennifer Gassman and Katie Slaughter.
As mentioned, the Rockets will learn their opponent and site for their first-round matchup on Monday afternoon. The first round of the 64-team, single-elimination tourney will be played next weekend, Friday-Sunday, Nov. 11-13.
TOLEDO 1, Western Michigan 0
UT: R. MacLeod (N. Gaitan, D. Case), 68:01
SHOTS: UT 14, WMU 4
CORNER KICKS: UT 7, WMU 1
SAVES: UT 1, WMU 5
FOULS: UT 10, WMU 9
2011 MAC All-Tournament Team
Danielle Turner, Buffalo
Ainsley Wheldon, Buffalo
Jennifer Gassman, Central Michigan
Katie Slaughter, Central Michigan
Anina Cicerone, Western Michigan
Caitlin Henderson, Western Michigan
Michelle Watson, Western Michigan
Natalia Gaitan, TOLEDO
Rachel MacLeod, TOLEDO
Kristen Lynn, TOLEDO
Ana Reynolds, TOLEDO
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