Springfield, Mass. - November 9, 2008 - For the third time in four years, the Springfield College women's soccer team is headed back to the NCAA Tournament. With its 2-1 overtime victory over the second-seeded Wheaton College Lyons, the top-seeded Pride claimed the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) crown, and earned the NCAA Tournament automatic qualifier.
Springfield will find out who it will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Monday at 12:00 pm. The Pride improves to 15-3-2 on the year as it is currently ranked 18th in the country and third in the New England region in the latest NSCAA poll. Wheaton falls to 16-5-2 on the year and had its 26-game conference tournament unbeaten streak broken, a streak that had stretched back to 2000.
Just over six minutes into overtime, Jen Jahoda sent a cross into the box from the right hand side, looking for Shanda Kogut. Kogut was then fouled in the box and the referee awarded Springfield a penalty kick. Delaney Cantrall calmly stepped up and slotted a ball into the lower left corner beyond Wheaton keeper Lindsay Leddy, sending the Springfield crowd and team into a frenzy.
In a physical, tightly-contested match, the Pride netted the first goal of the game in the 50th minute. After Wheaton failed to clear the ball out of its defensive third, freshman Jackie Moscardelli charged a bouncing loose ball in the box. Moscardelli jumped up and headed the ball as she collided with a Wheaton defender. Even though a pair of Wheaton backs gave chase before it crossed the end line, the ball found the back of the net, giving SC a 1-0 advantage.
The Pride appeared to gain a 2-0 lead with just over seven minutes remaining, but Kogut's strike from inside the six was called back for offsides.
The Lyons would not go away as they would tie the game up in the 87th minute. After Emily Hough redirected a cross toward the left side, a streaking Melida Alvarez gathered the ball, dribbled past a defender and slipped a shot into the back of the net after a clever move on Springfield keeper Sue Jenney.
Pouring constant pressure on in the final moments, the Pride almost ended the game in regulation, but Leddy made a phenomenal save on Courtney Price's shot from 25 yards out, just punching it over the crossbar.