BOSTON, Mass. – Following their 3-1 win over Endicott College yesterday afternoon, the fourth seed Beacons (14-6-2) will travel to first-seeded Worcester State University to face the Lancers in the semi-final round of the ECAC New England Region Tournament on Saturday at noon.
Worcester State (13-5-2), who defeated the University of New England yesterday evening in penalty kicks, will host both semi-final matches on Saturday and championship match on Sunday.
UMass will be making its second straight ECAC semi-final appearance under head coach Amy Zombeck. Last season, the Beacons fell to Endicott in the semi's by the final score of 3-0. Saturday's match-up marks the first meeting between UMass and Worcester State since 2007, with the Lancers earning a 5-0 win in that contest.
Overall the two teams have met a combined 13 times, with Worcester State winning every meeting. This will be the first time that the two will face each other in a postseason tournament.
In Wednesday's win over Endicott, freshman forward and 2011 Little East Conference Rookie of the Year Krista Ledin (Bridgewater, Mass.) notched her fifth hat trick of the season in the 3-1 victory. In scoring those three goals, Ledin set the single-season scoring record at UMass as she now sits with 23 goals on the year. Senior Kristin Mulry (Holbrook, Mass.) and sophomore Tayla Andrews (Plymouth, Mass.) each picked-up an assist in the win, with long clearing passes that allowed Ledin to get behind the Gulls defense and around the goalkeeper.
Freshman goalkeeper Dani Perkins (Murrieta, Calif.) continued her strong play, recording just one save in the win. Going into Saturday's match, Perkins carries 0.69 goals against average, a .839 save percentage, and a win-loss record of 14-6-2. Also helping to secure the back field for UMass has been Samantha Place (Newton, N.J.), Alli Modzelewski (Newtown, Conn.) and Brittany Spencer (West Brookfield, Mass.).
In the middle-third Sam Cristoforo (Rockland, Mass.) and Brie Cavanaugh (Belchertown, Mass.) have played a major factor in helping the Beacons control the pace of the match. Along with their ability to distribute the ball and physical play, Cristoforo and Cavanaugh have become two of the top midfielders both in the conference and in the region.
Worcester State's first-round win was the result of 5-4 decision in penalty kicks. Hitting the game-clinching pk was Gaby Gonet. Scoring the lone goal for the Lancers, her second of the season, was Sarah Rafferty off of a pass from Brianne Beckman.
On the year it has been Danielle Clifford that has dominated Worcester State's offensive efforts scoring a combined seven goals, while also adding five assists. However the Lancers have also shown that any moment one of their players can find the back of the net. Going into Saturday's semi-final match, a combined 15 different players have scored at least one goal this season.
Anchoring the defense this season has been goalkeeper Angiezaka Sychtysz, who has started all 20 matches for Worcester State. In, 1,787 minutes played Sychtysz has allowed just 15 goals (0.76 gaa) and has combined for 62 saves (.805 save percentage).
In the other semi-final match second-seeded Keene State College will take on sixth-seeded St. Joseph's College (Conn.) at 3 p.m. The winners will then advance to the championship game on Sunday, with that match scheduled for a 12 p.m. start.