Bridgewater, Va. -- For the second-straight season and eighth time in the last nine years, University of Lynchburg's women's soccer team claimed the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship.
The Hornets won a 3-0 victory over Virginia Wesleyan Sunday afternoon at Bridgewater College to take the crown in decisive fashion.
Senior forward Caitlin Mertens (Succasunna, N.J.) put Lynchburg ahead in the early going, and senior forward Hannah Olds (Wilmington, N.C.) scored twice in the second half to seal the match for the Hornets.
Lynchburg's defense was stalwart as well, stymying five Marlins corners and allowing just three shots-on-goal, all of which were saved by senior goalkeeper Delia LoSapio (Raleigh, N.C.).
The Hornets' offense, however, got going early. Mertens intercepted a Marlins clear in the second minute and found a clear path to the goal, finishing from the right corner of the box for a quick Lynchburg lead.
Despite several opportunities -- including a ball from senior defender Brooke Kowalski (Wayne, N.J.), saved by the VWU keeper, that appeared to cross the line -- the Marlins' defense held the deficit at 1-0 entering halftime.
Lynchburg asserted itself again after intermission, thanks to Mertens and Olds on the attack. Olds stepped in to finish a rebound from Mertens' shot in the 61st minute that doubled the Hornets' lead, and the two teamed up for another strike in the 79th minute that put the match on ice.
The Lynchburg defense stuffed one final attack from Virginia Wesleyan in the waning minutes, and then the celebration began. Olds, Mertens, senior midfielder Kennedy Jakubek (Leesburg, Va.), and senior defender Katie Waring (Chester, Va.) earned all-tournament team honors after the match.
Lynchburg finishes the conference tournament weekend with eight goals in the two matches, four of which came off Olds' foot and three more from Mertens'.
It is the program's 16th ODAC championship, all since 1997, and cements the team's 19th NCAA tournament appearance.
The Hornets, who are ranked No. 16 nationally in the D3soccer.com poll and fourth in the South Atlantic regional rankings, will learn their NCAA tournament draw Monday afternoon, Nov. 5, at 1:30 p.m. by way of the Division III selection show. Fans can find the selection show via this hyperlink at that time.
2018 ODAC Women's Soccer All-Tournament Team
Marli Hayward, Virginia Wesleyan
Kennedy Jakubek, Lynchburg
Mary Virginia Kelly, Randolph-Macon
Caitlin Mertens, Lynchburg
Hannah Olds, Lynchburg
Hanna Randolph, Bridgewater
Bonita Soliday, Randolph-Macon
Emily Taylor, Virginia Wesleyan
Camryn Terry, Virginia Wesleyan
Katie Waring, Lynchburg
Emily York, Bridgewater