BOSTON, Mass.--UMass Boston women's soccer (18-2, 6-1) will be going dancing for the first time in program history after they downed Western Connecticut State (15-4-3), 1-0, in the Little East Conference Championship Game Sunday afternoon at the Clark Athletic Field.
In a match that was characterized by strong defense, Tayla Andrews (Quincy, Mass.) scored with less than 30 minutes remaining and the Beacons hung on for their first LEC Tournament Championship in program history.
The Beacons back line of Brittany Castillo (Yarmouth, Mass.), Alli Modzelewski (Newtown, Conn.), Brittney Spencer (West Brookfield, Mass.) and Anna O'Donoghue (Swansea, Mass.) played their best game of the season with consistent lock-down defense for the full 90 minutes. The quartet allowed just 14 shot attempts – with only five on target – in the championship game, and kept the third-best offense in the LEC scoreless for just the fourth time all season.
Junior Sam Cristoforo (Rockland, Mass.) was named the Most Outstanding Player Of The Tournament for her dominance in the midfield, while Kristen Spain (Quincy, Mass.) earned her second consecutive shutout in the postseason by making five saves. Spain made 10 saves in the LEC Tournament and allowed zero goals, earning her program-record 16th and 17th career wins.
Western Connecticut State dominated the stat line with a 14-11 shot advantage and 8-0 edge in corner kicks.
The Colonials held the advantage through the first half by recording nine of the twelve shots and all six of the corner kicks attempted. Despite the advantage, Spain was only forced to make one big save, as she fully extended to stop a Tracy Sales shot on a one-on-one.
UMass Boston held the edge in the second half, as they grabbed the majority of the chances and finally broke the scoreless tie.
After receiving a long through pass on the far side, Andrews fooled a Colonial defender with a crossover at the right side of the box and sent a left-footed shot across the goalmouth and into the near side of the net for the lone goal of the game.
UMass Boston would dominate the final 30 minutes with six of the final 10 shots and the majority of the ball possession. The Beacons nearly recorded the second goal of the game on multiple possessions – including a potential goal that was ruled offsides – but were stymied by Colonials goaltender Caitlin Avery several times.
The Beacons dominated the clock over the final 10 minutes, with Western Connecticut State managing just one shot off of a free kick.
UMass Boston will learn their fate Monday at 1:30 during the NCAA Division III Women's Soccer Selection show broadcast live on NCAA.com.