Golden Bears Advance to CCC Tournament Semifinals with PK Shootout Win over Roger Williams

Western New England advanced to the CCC Tournament semifinals for the second consecutive season with a PK shootout win over Roger Williams on Sunday.
Western New England advanced to the CCC Tournament semifinals for the second consecutive season with a PK shootout win over Roger Williams on Sunday.

Western New England wins shootout 3-0 following 1-1 draw

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (October 28, 2018) – The fourth-seeded Western New England University women's soccer team advanced to the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament semifinals with a penalty kick shootout victory over fifth-seeded Roger Williams University on Sunday afternoon at Suprenant Field. After the two teams played to a 1-1 draw through 90 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, the Golden Bears emerged victorious with a 3-0 triumph in the decisive penalty shootout.

With the win, Western New England (8-7-4) moves on to the semifinal round of the CCC Tournament for the second consecutive season. The Golden Bears will travel to top-seeded Endicott College on Wednesday with a berth in the CCC Championship game on the line. Roger Williams' season concludes at 7-10-2.

Top Performers
Western New England's lone goal came courtesy of CCC Rookie of the Year Allison Bruehwiler (Old Saybrook, Conn.), who netted the equalizer in the second half.

Junior goalkeeper Alex Lemekha (Stamford, Conn.) made five saves for the Golden Bears and stopped the only PK attempt that was put on frame.

Junior defender Alli Santacroce (Burlington, Conn.) scored for Roger Williams with an assist from freshman Sammy Jost (Ringwood, N.J.).

Game Review
The Hawks struck first in the 22nd minute when Jost sent in a cross that Santacroce was able to finish to give Roger Williams an early 1-0 lead. 

The visitors maintained their one-goal edge for the remainder of the half and for the first 23+ minutes of the second period, before the Golden Bears broke through at the 68:02 mark. Following a corner kick by sophomore Bee Murphy (Monson, Mass.), Bruehwiler collected a loose ball and buried a shot into the upper left corner of the net.

Bruehwiler then nearly orchestrated the go-ahead goal for Western New England in the 70th minute, as she sent in a cross from the right side that sophomore Shawna O'Neill (Worcester, Mass.) headed off the post.

Western New England continued to pressure in the late stages of regulation, but the Golden Bears were unable to find the back of the net as the contest went to overtime.

Following the first overtime period that featured no shots on goal for either side, Western New England forced Roger Williams freshman goalkeeper Morgan McCutcheon (Danbury, Conn.) to stop a pair of shots in the second extra session. After 110 minutes of play, a penalty kick shootout was needed to decide the outcome.

Western New England sophomore Mariana Goncalves (Ludlow, Mass.) calmly converted the first attempt of the shootout, and Lemekha followed with a save on Roger Williams senior Jenny Nasser (Beverly, Mass.). The Golden Bears took a 2-0 lead when freshman Mackenzie Holy (West Haven, Conn.) came through on Western New England's second attempt, before Roger Williams junior Morgan Snow (Rowley, Mass.) sent her shot wide of the goal. Bruehwiler slotted home her try to give the Golden Bears a 3-0 advantage, and Santacroce was unable to put her attempt on frame as Western New England sealed the shootout win.

Notes
• Western New England outshot Roger Williams 25-11, including 7-4 in shots on goal.
• With her second half goal, Bruehwiler is now tied for the team lead in points with 15.