DANBURY, Conn.—Knowing they needed a win or tie to earn their first Little East Conference Regular Season Title since 2014, UMass Boston women's soccer shut out host Western Connecticut State for 110 minutes, to wrap up the LEC Regular Season Crown.
UMass Boston 0, Western Connecticut State U. 0 (2OT)
(UMass Boston 17-2-1, Little East 7-0-1)
(Western Connecticut State 13-5-2, Little East 7-0-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
In a matchup of the two undefeated teams in the LEC, UMass Boston played the host Colonials even for the first 90 minutes and bunkered down in overtime, to wrap up the number one seed in next week's LEC Tournament.
Saturday's contest also was a rematch of last year's LEC Championship Game, in which Western Connecticut State earned a 2-0 victory.
Freshman goalie Maria Spylios (Leominster, Mass.) recorded a career-best eight saves-to keep the Colonials off the scoreboard for only the fourth time this season.
Western Connecticut keeper Karly Martin made five saves to finish the regular-season 13-5-1.
The two sides were virtually even through the first 45 minutes. Western held a 5-4 edge in total shots in the first half, but the Beacons led 3-1 in shots on goal.
Neither squad was able to pierce the scoring column in the opening half. UMass Boston had the first quality scoring chance 4:25 into the contest but they were whistled for being offside, which negated a shot off the crossbar. WestConn nearly drew first blood when sophomore forward Kaleigh Panek gathered a loose ball in the box, turned and fired it, just missing the left post in the 25th minute. Moments later, she dribbled past a defender who slipped and ripped a rocket just over the iron.
Western started to get more aggressive late in regulation, as they tried to earn home-field advantage throughout the LEC Tournament. The Colonials outshot the Beacons 9-4 and earned a 5-2 edge in shots on goal, but couldn't beat the Beacons defense.
In the first overtime, Osheonna Israel had the Colonials best chance to score on the day. She escaped the UMass Boston defenders clutches and was alone one-on-one with Spylios, but her attempt hit the left outside netting.
Western outshot the Beacons 8-1 in overtime, but Spylios was able to make saves on both shots on goal.
BY THE NUMBERS
- With the result, UMass Boston locked up the number one seed in the LEC Tournament for the third time in program history. The Beacons won their lone LEC Championship in 2012 and fell in the LEC Semifinals in 2013.
- Western outshot the Beacons 22-9 and held an 8-5 edge in shots on goal. The hosts also led 5-3 in corner kicks.
- Spylios moved into sole possession of second-place in program history with her ninth shutout in a single-season. She needs one more shutout to tie Dani Perkins' ('14) freshman campaign, when Perkins posted 10 shutouts.
- UMass Boston and Western Connecticut State are now 1-1-1 against each other over the past two years. Saturday's tie marked the first-ever tie between the two programs (4-25-1).
- Freshman Isa Andrade (Cambridge, Mass.) paced the Beacons with two shots on goal.
#1 UMass Boston will host the winner of #4 Eastern Connecticut State University and #5 Plymouth State University on Thursday night at 7 p.m. for the LEC Semifinals. The Warriors and Panthers will play Tuesday night in the LEC Quarterfinal Round.