WORCESTER, Mass. - The Worcester State University women's soccer team was the victim of a colossal upset on Friday evening, as the top-seeded Lancers were defeated 1-1 (4-2) by #5 Salem State in penalty kicks in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Semifinals at Coughlin Field.
Statistically, the match goes down as a tie for both teams, as the Lancers end their season with a record of 10-7-1. The Vikings move to 6-10-2, and move on to the MASCAC Championship game, which will be played at Westfield State on Sunday.
The Lancers got on the board first, tallying a goal in the game's 23rd minute. Sophomore Ali Maldonado (Rutland, Mass.) uncorked a rocket from just over 20 yards out that eluded the outstretched arms of Salem State goalkeeper Amanda Backe (Danvers, Mass.) and found its way into the top left corner of the net. The Lancers would carry this 1-0 lead into the break, outshooting the Vikings 11-2 in the opening 45 minutes.
The 1-0 Lancer edge looked as though it would hold up as it remained 1-0 as the clock ticked down in the second half. Junior Katie Brown (Milford, Mass.) had other plans, however. On what appeared to be a broken play, Brown, freshly subbed into the game, let go a shot from 30 yards out that perfectly kissed off the right post and into the net to even the score at 1-1 with exactly five minutes showing on the clock. Sophomore Teagan Gilliss (Milford, Mass.) was credited with an assist on the play, that sent the contest into overtime.
The two overtime sessions were all Lancers, but the Salem State defense held tough in fighting off the Lancer onslaught. In the two overtime periods, the Lancers had a handful of flurries in front of the Viking cage, but despite a 9-0 Lancer shooting edge, the contest would require penalty kicks to be decided.
In the penalty shootout, Brown, Ashley Leboeuf (Dracut, Mass.), and Taylor Capozzi (Lynn, Mass.) all converted for the Vikings, setting up senior Colleen Hurley (Braintree, Mass.) with a chance to win it. The senior stepped up and buried the kick into the left side of the net to cap the stunning upset. Maldonado and senior Nikki DiPilla (Sterling, Mass.) converted for the Lancers in the penalty shootout.
Backe finished the evening with seven saves in the victory for Salem State. Worcester State freshman goalkeeper Ashley Spellman (Lancaster, Mass.) turned aside three Viking shots in the defeat.