ERIE, Pa. – Junior All-Ohio Athletic Conference forward/midfielder Rachel Bender (Massillon/Jackson) was named the Most Valuable Player as the Baldwin Wallace University women's soccer team beat host Penn State Behrend College 3-1 to win the Herb Lauffer Memorial Tournament.
Behrend (1-1) held the early advantage when Jordan Oberlander opened up the scoring with what would end up being the Lions' only goal just 5:52 into the game, giving BW (2-0) its first deficit of the season. The Yellow Jackets remained calm on the ball, however, and were able to weather the storm until just before halftime. At the 43:33 mark, senior Academic All-OAC defender Lauren Haynam (Minerva) served up senior All-OAC midfielder Alex Elliott (Blacklick/IMG Academy) with a free kick. Elliott got forward and headed the ball into the net, giving Elliott her only goal of the game and Haynam her first assist to tie the game up at one goal apiece.
Coming out of the locker room at halftime, the Yellow Jackets made a few changes in the lineup, frequently subbing their forwards to constantly put fresh legs out on the field to increase the pressure on the Behrend back line. The new tactic worked as junior midfielder Cassandra Waickman (Stow/Stow-Monroe Falls) sent a ball scorching off the crossbar into the net from 25 yards out off a Bender assist to give BW a 2-1 lead. Just two minutes later, sophomore midfielder Kenna Poptic scored her first goal of the season with less than 10 minutes to go to for an eventual final score of 3-1.
Bender earned the tournament MVP honors by finishing out the weekend with one goal and three assists on 15 total shots. Fellow senior Elliott also had a strong tournament showing, scoring three goals across the two games.
BW will take the energy, excitement and experience from winning this tournament when they return to the field on Tuesday, September 5, when it travels to Oberlin to take on non-conference opponent Oberlin College at 7:30 p.m.