November 10, 2013

Springfield Edges MIT in Penalty Kicks to Capture NEWMAC Championship

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For the second year in a row and fifth time overall, Springfield College was crowned the 2013 NEWMAC Women's Soccer Champions as they edged out host MIT, 4-3, in a penalty kick shootout following a 0-0 double overtime battle on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Pride (13-4-4) secured a spot in the upcoming NCAA Division III Championship Tournament and will learn about their next opponent when the field is revealed Monday afternoon on www.ncaa.com. The Engineers (13-2-5), meanwhile, hope to make their third straight national appearance courtesy of an at-large selection.

Junior goalie Lucy Gillett (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) was named the Tournament Most Outstanding Player after compiling six saves and only surrendered two goals in 290 minutes of action for the Pride.

With MIT taking the field first in the shootout, senior Michaelann Rodriguez (Florence, Ala.) easily converted her attempt while junior Kelly Haines (Easton, Conn.) matched the effort for Springfield. Senior Rachel Dias Carlson (Albany, N.Y.) was successful on her bid as was senior Vicky DiNatale (Weymouth, Mass.). In the third round, junior Michelle Battipaglia (Katonah, N.Y.) saw her strike go wide of the far post while senior Lauren Muser (Derry, N.H.) had her shot glance off the same post. After Gillett smothered the attempt from junior Elena Gianotas (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.), freshman Elizabeth Monsen (Wayne, N.J.) gave the Pride a 3-2 lead. Sophomore Morgan Moroi (New Albany, Ohio) evened the score but senior Nina Vital (Ludlow, Mass.) buried her shot for the win.

The opening frame was a back-and-forth affair as both sides earned a pair of corner kicks and the Cardinal and Gray had a 5-4 edge in shots. Springfield and MIT managed to put two shots on goal but Gillett and freshman netminder Lauren Ullmann (Princeton, N.J.) kept the squads off the board.

Springfield nearly ended the deadlock on several occasions during the second half. In the 58th minute, sophomore Nicole Fowler (Maynard, Mass.) sent a throw into the box that glanced off a defender's leg and resulted in a corner kick. Senior Ashley Carressi (Billerica, Mass.) followed with a far-side corner kick that landed in front of the net untouched. A scramble at the goal line ensued before the ball was eventually cleared out. The Pride registered blasts by Muser, Caressi, and Monsen in the 73rd, 74th, and 82nd minutes but Ullmann turned away each attempt.

Down the stretch, sophomore Jessica Miller (Southbury, Conn.) made numerous threatening charges along the near sideline as her best effort came with 4:22 left to play. On a breakaway in the middle of the field with just Ullmann to beat, she took a dribble to the nearside to improve her angle but Ullmann slid in at the last second to grab the ball.

Held to only three shots for the frame, the Engineers' best scoring opportunity came in the 63rd minute. In a one-on-one situation with Gillett on the far side, junior Ambika Krishnamachar (Darien, Conn.) unleashed a shot that narrowly sailed over the net.

The first overtime period featured up-and-down play that produced shots by Fowler and Caressi. In the second extra frame, MIT controlled the action early on with shots by Rodriguez and junior Ashley Peter (Manhasset, N.Y.). The Pride almost captured the victory on Fowler's throw-in in the 103rd minute. The ball bounced in front of the goal, hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced back into the box but it was quickly cleared out before a play could be made.

In net, Ullmann finished the game with nine saves while Gillett turned away three shots.