BOSTON, Mass.—#1 UMass Boston women's soccer used a terrific defensive performance and three goals off of corner kicks, to earn a 4-0 win over four-time defending Little East Conference Tournament Champion Western Connecticut State University in the LEC Tournament Championship Game.
#1 UMass Boston 4, #2 Western Connecticut State U. 0
(UMass Boston 19-2-1)
(Western Connecticut State 14-6-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The top-seeded Beacons earned their program-record 19th win of the season and their second-ever LEC Tournament Title behind a total team effort.
Four different Beacons scored and seven players recorded points, as the Beacons earned the win in the rematch of the LEC Regular Season Co-Champions and last year's final. Sophomore left back Mary Jo Murphy (Worcester, Mass.) was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament.
In net, Maria Spylios (Leominster, Mass.) made five saves to earn her program-record 11th shutout in a single-season.
Western Connecticut State sophomore goalie Karly Martin made eight saves on 12 shots, to fall to 14-6-1. Junior Alexis Lainchbury came on for the final 8:09 and made one save.
Both teams had excellent chances to take the lead in the opening 10 minutes.
UMass Boston's Grace Oliver's (Rockland, Mass.) initial shot was stopped by a diving Carly Martin, but the rebound deflected out to the top of the box. Isa Andrade (Cambridge, Mass.) pounced on the rebound, but her shot was again parried away by Martin.
Western's best chance to score in the contest came in the ninth minute. A Colonials cross found freshman Myah Croze wide open in the middle of the box, but her shot went off the underside of the bar and bounced out.
UMass Boston took the lead in the 29th minute. On their first corner kick of the day, Allie Crawford (Kingston, Mass.) sent a corner to the top of the 18 and a Beacons player was fouled going up for the ball. Sophomore Dani Anderson (Jacksonville, Fla.) calmly stepped to the penalty spot and drilled it in for the Beacons' first penalty kick goal of the season.
The Beacons doubled their lead less than 10 minutes later. With their second corner of the day, Crawford curled a ball into the box just outside the six and sophomore Cal Pitts (Marshfield, Mass.) perfectly headed a shot just inside the near post for a 2-0 advantage. It was Pitts first goal of the season.
UMass Boston added a huge insurance goal at 58:49. Oliver sent a corner kick into the six and the ball took one bounce, before Andrade poked it in from four-yards out.
The Beacons capped off the scoring at 75:42. Morgan Palma (Kingston, Mass.) sent a pass out wide for Grace McGettrick (Marshfield, Mass.) and McGettrick's left-footed shot from a tight angle went through Martin's hands and in.
Western's offense struggled to get anything going on all game because of the play of Spylios and the Beacons back line. The freshman keeper came off her line several time to take charge on set pieces and the Beacons back line held the conference's two leading scorers, Kaleigh Panek and Myah Croze, to a combined four shots and two shots on goal.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston outshot the Colonials 16-9 and earned a 13-5 edge in shots on goal. The Beacons also led 5-4 in corner kicks.
- With the win, UMass Boston is 2-3 all-time in LEC Championship Games and 2-2 against Western Connecticut State in LEC Finals. The Colonials fall to 11-3 all-time in the LEC Finals.
- The Beacons join the 2012 UMass Boston team as the only two teams in program history to win the LEC Tournament. The Beacons passed the 2012 team on Saturday for the most wins in a single-season in program history (2019).
- Spylios passed Dani Perkins ('14) for the most shutouts in a single-season (11) and Kristen Spain ('15) for the most wins in a single-season (18).
- With the victory, UMass Boston has earned back-to-back results (1-0-1) against Western Connecticut State for only the second time in program history.
- Anderson and Murphy held Panek, the LEC's leading goal and point scorer, without a shot and shot on goal on Saturday.
UMass Boston will learn their first round opponent in the NCAA Division III Tournament on Monday at 1 p.m., when the NCAA airs the Selection Show on NCAA.com.