Northeastern Captures CAA WSOC Championship
HARRISONBURG, Va. (November 10, 2013) – Third-seeded Northeastern captured its first CAA Women’s Soccer Championship since 2008 with a 3-1 triumph over top-seeded JMU on Sunday afternoon at JMU’s University Park.
The Huskies (6-8-6) earn the CAA’s automatic bid to the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship, whose 64-team field will be announced on Monday afternoon. JMU (15-5-1), which saw its eight-game unbeaten streak come to an end, will await a possible at-large NCAA berth.
The match got off to a fast start with both teams getting on the board in the opening 10 minutes. Northeastern struck first when junior Hannah O’Donnell controlled a rebound off a Carina Deandreis shot at the top of the box and drove a sliding right-footed kick just inside the left post for her first goal of the year in the 9th minute.
JMU responded with the equalizer just 47 seconds later. Senior forward Lauren Wilson made a nice run into the box on the left side and sent a perfect pass across the goal to junior Katie Hyland. The junior forward redirected the ball into the open net for her team-leading ninth goal of the season.
The Huskies moved back in front, 2-1, in the 25th minute. NU’s Morgan Hilby headed a corner kick towards the goal from six yards out, but it was knocked off the line by the Dukes’ defense. The ball deflected left to junior Lahaina Zoller, who was able to finish from in front of the net for her third goal of the year.
The contest stayed at 2-1 going into intermission thanks to impressive stops by both keepers. NU’s Paige Burnett made a diving save to deny Wilson’s 18-yard attempt with 19:21 to go in the period. Three minutes later, JMU’s Ellen Forrest was able to punch Hanna Terry’s free kick over the crossbar.
With a stiff wind at its back, JMU kept the pressure on in the second half but could never convert. Wilson and Hyland had back-to-back shots from 10 yards out early in the period and the Dukes had another three-shot flurry with less than 12 minutes to go in regulation. JMU finished with an 8-1 shot advantage in the second half.
However, Northeastern used it only shot of the half to tack on an important insurance goal in the 82nd minute. Terry, who was honored as the Most Outstanding Player of the CAA Championship, got the ball at the top of the box on the right side and fought off a JMU defender as she dribbled toward the center. The senior midfielder was able to create enough space to fire a left-footed shot just inside the right post for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.
Terry was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Bianca Calderone, O’Donnell and Burnett, who finished the match with seven saves. Earning all-tournament honors from JMU were Sam Lofton, Becky Sparks and Hyland. Also making the all-tournament team were Hofstra’s Sam Scolarici and Tara Kerns and William & Mary’s Ali Heck and Dani Rutter.
The championship capped an amazing run for a Northeastern team that started the season 0-6-3 in non-conference action. The Huskies rallied for a third-place finish in the CAA and then advanced on penalty kicks past UNCW in the quarterfinals of the CAA Tournament and William & Mary in the semifinals.
JMU also finished the season strong, going 12-2-1 in its final 15 matches after opening 3-3.