Courtesy of Worcester State Sports Information
Worcester, Mass. -- Junior Alicia Macomber (Stoughton, MA) potted the game-winning marker in the 52nd minute as she helped lift top-seeded Worcester State to a 1-0 triumph over #2 Westfield State in the MASCAC Tournament Championship this afternoon at Coughlin Field.
With the victory, the Lancers (14-3-1) claimed their sixth MASCAC Tournament title and have earned the conference's automatic bid to next week's NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Tournament. The seedings will be made public by the NCAA on Monday at 1 PM.
The Owls, who made their fifth title game appearance in the last seven seasons, fall to 12-5-2 in the setback. They will await news of a possible ECAC Division III New England Women's Soccer playoff berth when the selections are announced on Monday afternoon.
For her outstanding efforts, Macomber was named the MASCAC Tournament's Most Valuable Player for collecting six points on three goals in a pair of victories for the Blue and Gold, which included two other markers in a 2-1 overtime triumph over Bridgewater State in the semifinal round on Friday evening.
The two squads combined for 11 shots in an opening stanza, but only had two bids that were placed on goal.
In the 22nd minute, senior Kaleigh Evan's (Saugus, MA) breakaway on the near sideline was scooped up by Westfield State sophomore keeper Anne Stack (E. Longmeadow, MA).
With 16 minutes remaining in the first period, junior goalie Jillian Witkowski (Leicester, MA) came out of the net, collected the loose ball and ended all chances of a possible rally after junior Kelsey Murray (Hanson, MA) found an open senior Sarah Sypek (Westhampton, MA) on the right side of the box.
Coming out of the intermission, the hosts ramped up the pressure and found success when Macomber finished a wide right shot from senior Alyssa Sawyer (W. Springfield, MA) for her 18th tally of the campaign and seventh game winner to give the Lancers the 1-0 margin.
The Owls kept playing until the very end, but Witkowski was sensational between the pipes for the Blue and Gold in the final frame. The best chances for the visitors to score came off of two corner kick tries midway through the stanza.
In the 64th minute, Sypeck hit sophomore Nicole Gay (Hatfield, MA) at the top of the box, however, Witkowski jumped up and snatched the high shot in the air to preserve the shutout.
Seven minutes later, Witkowski also denied sophomore Kate Matroni (Hamden, MA) the chance to finish a header on the left side of the net with another clutch save.
Worcester State led the final tally in shots (18-16) and the 8-6 lead in corner kicks. The contest was a physical one as the two squads combined for 30 fouls.
Witkowski finished with four saves in her sixth shutout of the season while Stack turned seven of the eight attempts she saw net in the tough-luck setback.
In the victory, Worcester State is now 6-0-1 in their last seven games since a loss at Keene State on October 8 and 14-6-1 all-time in the MASCAC tournament with their first crown since 2010. Four of the Lancers six league title wins have been by 1-0 scores.
This afternoon's contest also marked the second time that the Owls had been blanked in 2014. Westfield State had the best scoring offense in the conference with 52 goals in 19 games (2.74 goals per game) which included a 4-0 semifinal victory over third-seeded Framingham State on Friday.