SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Goals were scarce in the semifinal round of the of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Women's Soccer Championship Tournament with only a single goal scored in the run of play between the two matches. No. 3 seed University of New England and No. 4 seed Western New England were the two victors and will play for the CCC Women's Soccer Tournament Championship at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3. The Nor'easters will host the match.
UNE earned the chance to host Saturday's title match with just three seconds left in regulation as it scored the lone goal in their matchup with No. 2 seed Gordon.
The Golden Bears played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer against No. 1 seed Endicott and claimed the victory with a 4-3 advantage in kicks from the penalty mark.
Whichever team wins the CCC Tournament will be ending a significant championship drought. The Nor'easters last won a CCC Women's Soccer Tournament Championship in 2000, which was also their only appearance on record in the title match. The Golden Bears, which joined the league in 2007, have never claimed a CCC crown and have only competed for the championship hardware once, in 2009.
During the regular season, the two teams played to a 1-1 draw.
The winner of the title match will be named the 2018 CCC Women's Soccer Tournament Champion and earn the conference's automatic qualifier into the 2018 NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Championship.
#3 University of New England 1, #2 Gordon 0
WENHAM, Mass. – Katie Beaudoin (Coventry, R.I.) (CCC 1st Team) scored with just three seconds remaining to lift third-seeded University of New England over second-seeded Gordon College, 1-0, in the semifinals of the 2018 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Women's Soccer Championship on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 31) at Brigham Athletic Complex.
The Nor'easters (9-7-2) will play for the conference championship for the first time since 2000, and will host fourth-seeded Western New England University (advancing past No.1 Endicott on penalty kicks, 4-3, after a 0-0 tie) beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
A midfield throw-in by Jessie Maywalt (Wall, N.J.) found her classmate breaking down the left side, and Beaudoin cut into the box to bury the game-winner off the goalie's fingers and under the crossbar at 89:57.
Jenna Pannone (Prospect, Conn.) (CCC 1st Team) captured her third clean sheet of the season and made five saves in the victory. Shots were fairly close, with the Fighting Scots (11-7-1) holding a 12-10 advantage overall and UNE leading 6-5 on-goal. Giselle Maso posted five stops for the hosts.
Gordon had taken the regular-season meeting between the teams by the same margin, back when CCC play began on Sept. 15 in Biddeford. It was just the second time all year that the league's top-scoring offense (and nation's 11th-best attack) was held scoreless.
Game recap courtesy of the University of New England Sports Information Department.
#4 Western New England 0, #1 Endicott 0 – WNE advances on PKs 4-3
BEVERLY, Mass. – The fourth-seeded Western New England University women's soccer team advanced to the championship match of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament for the first time since 2009 with a 4-3 penalty kick shootout victory over top-seeded Endicott College in the semifinals on Wednesday night at Hempstead Stadium. The shootout came after the Golden Bears and Gulls played to a 0-0 draw through 90 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime.
With the win, Western New England (8-7-5) moves on to face third-seeded University of New England on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Biddeford, Maine. The Golden Bears will be seeking their first CCC title and sixth conference championship overall. Endicott's season ends with a record of 9-4-5.
Junior goalkeeper Alex Lemekha (Stamford, Conn.) kept the Golden Bears in the contest with an eight-save shutout performance. Lemekha also made a pair of key saves in the penalty shootout to help set up the win.
Sophomore Bee Murphy (Monson, Mass.) had Western New England's two best scoring chances in the second half, as she had a header saved and hit the post late in regulation. Murphy led off for the Golden Bears in the penalty shootout and converted her attempt.
Sophomore Mariana Goncalves (Ludlow, Mass.) and freshmen Mackenzie Holy (West Haven, Conn.) and Vanessa Chiarella (Hampden, Mass.) also scored in the PK shootout.
Endicott junior Catherine Elkas (Holden, Mass.) accounted for half of the Gulls' eight shots on frame.
Endicott applied offensive pressure throughout the first half, as the Gulls outshot the Golden Bears 19-0, including 6-0 in shots on goal. Lemekha and the Western New England defense held up, however, as the contest went into halftime tied 0-0.
The Golden Bears nearly broke the scoreless deadlock early in the second half on a corner kick. Freshman Allison Bruehwiler (Old Saybrook, Conn.) sent a ball into the box that Murphy got her head on and directed towards the goal, but an Endicott defender was there to clear it off the end line.
In the 84th minute, Murphy again nearly put Western New England ahead, this time firing a shot off the post. Endicott had one late corner but was unable to get a shot on goal.
Lemekha made one save early in the first overtime period, but neither team threatened to score the rest of the way as the contest went to a penalty kick shootout.
Western New England, which trailed 3-2 after three full rounds, rallied late to pull off the win. Lemekha came up with a stop on sophomore Gabriella Prisco (West Haven, Conn.), and Chiarella converted her attempt to tie the shootout 3-3. In the final round, Lemekha made another save before Goncalves found the back of the net to send the Golden Bears to the CCC title match.
• The Golden Bears were outshot 33-2, while Endicott held a 7-1 advantage in corner kicks.
• Lemekha's shutout is her second this season and tenth of her career.
Game recap courtesy of the Western New England Sports Information Department.
2018 CCC WOMEN'S SOCCER TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
All matches hosted by higher seed
Quarterfinals – Sunday, Oct. 28
Semifinals – Wednesday, Oct. 31
Finals – Saturday, Nov. 3
#4 Western New England at #3 University of New England, 1 p.m.
ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH COAST CONFERENCE
The Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), founded in 1984, is an NCAA Division III athletic conference comprised of nine full member and one associate member institutions throughout the New England region. Its membership aims to provide student-athletes with a positive experience in their pursuit of excellence through high academic standards, quality competition, and a meaningful student life. The conference administers championships in 18 intercollegiate sports.