Worcester, MA --- Westfield State junior Kayley Miller (Ludlow, MA) netted a late goal in the second half to help lift the second-seeded Owls to a 1-0 victory over #1 Worcester State in the MASCAC Tournament Championship game this evening at Coughlin Field.
Miller, who scored three goals during the duration of the tournament, received the tournament MVP accolades.
With the win Westfield State (15-3-1) receives the conference's automatic bid to next week's NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Tournament. The squad has won their third overall crown since the four-team competition started in 2000.
The Lancers (13-5-1) will await word on a possible ECAC Division III New England Tournament bid when the announcements are made on Monday. The Blue and Gold also still have an outside possibility of going to the NCAA's as an at-large team as they were ranked seventh in last week's NCAA New England Regional Poll.
Miller recorded her team-leading 15th marker of the season in the 74th minute when she received a solid pass from freshman Sarah Sypek (Westhampton, MA) on the left side and fired a blast from roughly 20-yards out.
The Owls held and 8-3 edge in shots in the first half as they peppered senior keeper Angiezaka Sychtysz (Warren, MA) with shots early on. Their best chances came towards the end of the opening half when Miller would register pair of shots on goal in the 33rd and the 37th minutes. On the last bid, Sychtysz just got a piece of the ball with her fingertips to prevent it from ringing the left post.
The Lancers also had a bid in the middle of the frame when sophomore Gaby Gonet (Agawam, MA) was right in front to tap in the tally, but she was denied when sophomore goalie Jess Habif (Holliston, MA) cut off the ball to prevent any further damage.
Worcester State had a pair of golden opportunities early on in the second stanza. Freshman Alyssa Sawyer (W. Springfield, MA) was wide open in the 56th minute, but senior Heather Dragon (Westhampton, MA) blocked the shot to prevent it from getting anywhere near the net.
The stellar defensive effort by Westfield State helped set the stage for Miller's dramatic goal.
Following a tremendous team save in the 76th minute by Worcester State to thwart the insurance marker, the hosts outshot their opponents 6-1 in the final 10 minutes of the game. First-year Shelby Archer (Dayville, CT) had the best chances in the 86th minute and again with 29 seconds left, but her first attempt was too far to the left and her second was scooped up by Habif.
Habif ended the contest with three saves in her second shutout of the tournament and her third this season. Sychtysz turned aside four shots in the setback for WSU.
Westfield State would finish with a 15-12 edge in shots (7-3 on goal) and a 6-3 lead in corner kicks.