WORCESTER – Freshman Kristen McCrea (Weymouth, MA) propelled the WPI women's soccer team into Sunday's NEWMAC Championship game with a golden goal 17 seconds in the second overtime to defeat visiting Springfield 1-0 Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.
The top-seeeded Engineers (15-2-2), who are seventh in the NCAA Division III regional rankings, will face second-seeded MIT, the eighth team in the rankings, Sunday at 1pm for the tournament title and auto bid to the NCAA tournament.
McCrea knocked home a pass from graduate student Jaime Espinola (Greensboro, NC) to provide the heroics. WPI had a shot blocked and a header saved in the initial OT while Springfield looked to end it at 90:34; however, the shot went wide.
Senior Erin Bracken (Bridgewater, MA) fired a laser at that went high at 8:02. Later in the first, freshman Mackenzie Luiz (Newington, CT) tested sophomore Gabi Hoops (Stonington, CT) with attempts in the 34th and 36th minutes. Junior Mari Bailey (North Providence, RI) had a good look with 6:09 left in the half only to have it saved by junior Ciara Boucher (Manchester, CT). Junior Megan Hanshaw (Simsbury, CT) had a long-range boot halted by the Pride netminder in the 42nd minute.
Junior Mikaela Coady (Middletown, CT) missed by inches at the 48:40 and senior Julia Cormier (New Bedford, MA) fired at shot from 18-yards out at 50:33. Nearly three minutes later, Bracken dribbled the ball down the field twice. She ripped a shot on her second time only to have it saved by Boucher. Cormier had arguably the best try of regulation when her shot was denied by diving save by Hoops at 58:49. Just over two minutes later, the Pride had a close free kick that sailed high. WPI senior Lynn Renner (Aberdeen, SD) was just wide on a long free kick at 61:02. Junior Kim Quiles (Poughkeepsie, NY) was slightly off the mark at 71:41 and 73:20. The Engineers had a great chance late as senior Emma Turton (Poland, ME) fed McCrea in the 73rd only to have it go wide.
Hoops handled all four shots that came her way while Boucher stopped six.
The Engineers had the 16-14 edge in shots while Springfield was awarded eight of the 13 corner kicks.
Springfield (11-5-5) now awaits a potential ECAC berth.
Second-Seeded MIT Blanks Sixth-Seeded Wheaton in NEWMAC Women's Soccer Semifinal
WORCESTER – Second-seeded MIT scored a goal in each half to defeat sixth-seeded Wheaton 2-0 in a NEWMAC Women's Soccer Championship semifinal Saturday afternoon at WPI's Alumni Field.
The Engineers (17-4-1) will take on top-seeded WPI Sunday at 1pm for the NEWMAC Championship and auto bid to the NCAA tournament. Wheaton bows out of the tournament with an 14-8 ledger.
MIT junior Olivia Struckman (Scottsdale, AZ) found the upper left 90 off a feed from freshman Emily Berzolla (Riverside, CT) for her eighth of the year in the 26th minute.
Freshman Alexa Barbagallo (Bridgewater, NJ) kept it a one-goal game with just over eight to play as she made a great save on a shot by fellow rookie Montana Reilly (Los Angeles, CA). Moments later sophomore Allie Hrabchak (Princeton, NJ) knocked home a rebound for her third of the season at 83:29.
Senior Lauren Ullmann (Princeton, NJ) only had to stop one shot to earn her 11th clean sheet of the year. Wheaton sophomore Leann Wolf (Santa Maria, CA) totaled seven saves before yielding to Barbagello who made four of her own.
MIT had the advantage in shots (22-5) and corner kicks (5-2).