WORCESTER, Mass. – The Westfield State University women's soccer team earned its sixth Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MACSAC) tournament championship in the past 10 seasons as the second seeded Owls used a strong second half to overcome a one-goal deficit and push past the first seeded Worcester State Lancers for the title. Casey Rotti (Rutland, Mass.) was tabbed the tournament MVP for scoring the equalizer goal in the matchup and also helping the Owls on defense preserve the championship win.
November 5, 2017
MASCAC Championship | Coughlin Field
Score: Westfield State 2, Worcester State 1
Records: Westfield State (11-5-3) | Worcester State (12-5-2)
Each team saw chances to score in the first five minutes, however, both shots were sent wide. The first shot on net of the game was a Lancer goal by Worcester State's senior defender Justine Butler (Marlborough, Mass.). Worcester State's Maddie Fong (Norton, Mass.) received a free kick from 25-yards out on the left side and arched the ball in the air. Looking as if the ball was going to slide past the right post, Butler got a foot on the ball and redirected it into the net for the Lancers' 1-0 gain.
Despite the Lancer goal in the 18th minute, most of the first half play was settled at the midfield. Westfield saw their largest scoring opportunity with five minutes to go in the stanza. The Owls took a chance at a free kick from the left side as Westfield State's Lydia Kinsman (Granville, Mass.) found the ball on the same side of the net. She took a shot which led to an aggressive play for Worcester's defender, Butler, to save the Owls from tying the score. Kinsman received the ball and shot it off the deflection, but the second kick went wide.
Westfield State controlled the pace of the second half, as just over a minute into frame Rotti tied the score at 1-1 off a corner kick from Rene Hamel (Monson, Mass.). Hamel sent the corner kick cross from the left side, and Rotti found the ball at the near post and sent it to the back of the net.
The Owls' Bella Eduardo (Springfield, Mass.) scored the second goal for Westfield State in the 66th minute. After keeping the ball in Worcester State territory for the majority of the half, Eduardo found herself with the ball 35-yards out. Without a defender at her foot, Eduardo took a chance at a long shot that took one bounce and went up and over Worcester State's goaltender for what proved to be the game-winner. The Lancers didn't give up as they saw a free kick and two corner kicks in the last six minutes of play, however, Westfield State's defense stopped the Blue and Gold from a chance and prevailed the 2-1 MASCAC championship win.
BY THE BOOK
- Worcester State's Butler tallied her fifth goal of the season, accumulating a total of 11 points on the season.
- Westfield State's Rotti notched her second goal of the season, while Eduardo leads the team with 14 goals and six assists for 32 points on the season.
- Westfield's goaltender, Natalia Falcone (Sutton, Mass.) improves to 8-3-2 on the season as she stopped 4-of-5 shots on net.
- The Lancers' Jill Zinkus (Grafton, Mass.) suffered the loss in a 2-save performance.
- Westfield State held a 16-11 shot advantage (7-4 in the second half).
- The Lancers notched five shots on net, in comparison to Westfield's four.
- Worcester State totaled five corner kicks to Westfield's two. Four of the Lancers' corner kicks came in the second half.
- Westfield State snapped the Lancers' 5-game winning streak; all of which were shutouts. It was the Lancers' first goals against October 7.
- Westfield State earns its sixth overall MASCAC tournament championship in the past decade.
- The last time the two teams met in a championship game, Worcester State lost on their home turf 1-0 in 2015.
The Owls earn an automatic bid into the NCAA women's soccer tournament, and will await the pairings which will be announced on Monday (Nov. 6). Worcester State concludes the 2017 campaign with a 12-5-2 record.