By RICK PETERSON
The No. 1-seeded Washburn University soccer team heads to Wichita Thursday to face rival Emporia State in an MIAA Championship semifinal (3 p.m. start) at the Stryker Sports Complex.
The No. 7 nationally-ranked Ichabods will face No. 4 MIAA seed Emporia State for the third time this season, with Washburn winning 1-0 at ESU earlier in the season and the Hornets topping WU in the regular-season final, 1-0.
The Washburn-Emporia State semifinal will follow the first semi between No. 2 tourney seed Central Missouri and No. 3 Fort Hays State.
The championship match will be played at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Stryker Complex.
Washburn is currently 16-2-1 on the season and won the second MIAA regular-season championship in program history.
The Ichabods went 9-1-1 in the MIAA with the only loss coming to the Hornets.
Washburn set a new program record with its 16th win last Friday night in the opening round of the MIAA tournament, breaking the pervious high set in 2006 when WU went 15-1-6.
With a win Washburn will advance to the MIAA Championship Tournament for the first time in program history.
The Ichabods are ranked No. 1 in the Central Region of the final NCAA Regional Rankings of the year. They moved up one spot to No. 7 nationally in the USCA rankings.
The top two teams in each region host the opening two rounds of the NCAA Tournament between Nov. 16 and Nov. 20.
Washburn began the MIAA Championship Tournament with a 3-2 win over No. 8 seed Missouri Western in double overtime at Yager Stadium.
Lindsey Maul scored the game winning goal in the 107th minute off a scrum in the box after a corner kick. It was the first game-winner of her career.
Washburn Rural product Belle Kennedy, a first-team All-MIAA selection, was assisted by Aubrey Tanksley to score the first goal of the match for the Ichabods. Riley Wells scored the match-tying goal unassisted and MIAA goalkeeper of the year Raegan Wells made six saves in goal.
Rural grad Mackinly Rohn is tied for 33rd in the nation in assists with seven and tied for 65th in assists per game. She is second in the MIAA in both categories.
Kennedy has started all 19 matches, playing 1,188 minutes. She is second on the Ichabods with 26 shots and has three goals and one assist.
Emporia State is 10-5-4 this season and finished fourth in the MIAA regular season with an 8-2-1 record in conference play.
The Hornets defeated No. 5 seed Northwest Missouri State 3-0 in the MIAA quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals.
Former Cair Paravel Latin standout Hannah Woolery, a first-team All-MIAA pick, leads Emporia State with four asssists this season. She has also scored three goals.