WORCESTER, Mass. – Third-seeded Worcester State University captured the 2019 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Women's Soccer Tournament title with a dramatic 1-0 double overtime victory over #4 Bridgewater State University in the tournament championship game on Sunday afternoon at Coughlin Field.
With the win, the Lancers (11-7-2) advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the eighth time in program history and first since 2016. The Bears end the season with an overall record of 12-9.
Junior forward Ali Maldonado (Rutland, Mass.) potted the game-winning goal for Worcester State with 4:31 remaining in the second overtime session. Maldonado beat a defender to the ball off a long pass from freshman midfielder Haley Ferrin (North Attleboro, Mass.) and fired a shot inside the left post from outside the 18.
The Lancers finished with a 25-17 shot advantage for the game as well as a slight 10-9 edge in corner kick attempts.
Junior Ashley Spellman (Lancaster, Mass.) made nine saves to record her eighth win of the season and fifth shutout between the pipes for the Lancers. Senior Kellie Souza (Wilmington, Mass.) turned aside 13 shots in the setback for the Bears.
The Lancers and Bears played a chess match in the opening 45 minutes, with neither team holding a decided advantage. Worcester State outshot the Bears by a narrow margin of 9-7, but both goaltenders were up to the task.
The second half was all Lancers, as Worcester State held a 13-4 edge in shots and 8-1 advantage in corner kicks. Worcester State had a handful of golden opportunities, most notably on a Maldonado breakaway in the 76th minute. After eluding a defender, Maldonado walked in alone on Souza, but the senior goalkeeper denied Maldonado not once, but twice from point blank to keep the game scoreless. Souza finished regulation with 12 saves.
Momentum swung in Bridgewater State's favor in the first overtime period, as the Bears outshot the Lancers 5-2, but Spellman stood tall with three saves to force a second extra session. Bridgewater's best chance came in the 99th minute, when senior forward Alana Vincent (Taunton, Mass.) broke loose in the box, but Spellman made a nice kick save to keep the Lancers alive.
Notes: Souza set the Bears' singles-season goaltendng record for games played with her 21st appearance....Souza also added on to her single-season mark for minutes played as she finished the year with 1917:31....Worcester State is 7-4-1 all-time versus Bridgewater State in the MASCAC Tournament including a 5-1 mark in the championship game.