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Late Push Lifts Women's Soccer Past Albright, 2-1, in ECAC Championship Semifinals

Late Push Lifts Women's Soccer Past Albright, 2-1, in ECAC Championship Semifinals

Springfield, Mass. - November 18, 2017 - Two goals in the final 5:52 of the contest lifted the Springfield College women's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Albright in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Championship Tournament Semifinals on Saturday afternoon at Brock-Affleck Field. 

With the win, the Pride, which is the overall top seed in the bracket, improves to 16-6-1 on the year and will advance to the ECAC Championship for the second-straight year, where it will take on the winner of second-seeded NYU and third-seeded Grove City at Brock-Affleck Field at 12 p.m. on Sunday, November 18. The Pride's 16 wins matches the highest single-season win total for the Springfield College since 2008.

Springfield College held a 24-9 shot advantage over 90 minutes of play, while the Pride was also awarded five corner kicks to the Lions' four. In net for Springfield College, Ciara Boucher (Manchester, Conn.) made four stops, while her counterpart Alexis Tunney (Galloway, N.J.), made seven saves in the setback.  

Just 6:19 into the contest, Albright got on the scoreboard when Jillian Lapidus (Scotch Plains, N.J.) sent a long pass to Crissy Terraces (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) before the senior forward cut back to her left foot before letting a stinger go into the top right corner of the net to give the Lions a 1-0 lead in the early stages of the contest.

Springfield College's best chance of the first half came with 2:54 to play in the stanza when Meghan Sastram (Oxford, Conn.) got an open look, but her bid was stopped by a diving effort from Tunney to keep the Pride off the board. Albright's defense held tough for the remainder of the first half, as the Pride finished the first 45 minutes with five shots on goal, which were all turned away by Tunney. 

Midway through the second half, the Pride were close to evening the score at one apiece when Kim Quiles (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) drilled one from 45 yards out, which was deflected by a diving Tunney before the ball hit the cross bar and bounced out of play. With less than 15 minutes on the clock, Springfield College turned up the offensive pressure and got a great chance from Quiles, who was open on the back door with an open net, but Albright's Emily Saxon (Gilbertsville, Pa.) blocked the senior's bid to keep the Pride off the board. 

Springfield College finally broke through with 5:52 on the clock, as Quiles sent a great pass to Amanda Wright (Pittsfield, Mass.), who turned on the ball and drilled the left side of the netting to make it 1-1. Just 1:25 later, a foul from Albright resulted in a direct free kick for Aly Morell (New Britain, Conn.), who's service was headed by Dakota Kelly (Bethany, Conn.), but the ball popped straight up, allowing Mikaela Coady (Middletown, Conn.) to get a head on it before the pass snuck past Tunney to give the Pride a 2-1 advantage late.

From there, the Pride's defense held strong, sealing the 2-1 win.

NYU 1, Grove City 0 -- Game 2

Junior midfielder Maddie Pena (Pasadena, Calif.) found the back of the net with 39 seconds to play, leading the New York University women's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Grove City College in the ECAC Championship Tournament Semifinals, hosted at Brock-Affleck Field on the campus of Springfield College. With the win, the Violets will return to the ECAC Championship game and will take on top-seeded Springfield College on Sunday, November 18 at 12 p.m. 

NYU and Springfield College squared off in the 2016 ECAC Championship contest last season, and the Pride prevailed in a penalty kick shootout. The Violets will now enter Sunday's game with an overall record of 13-5-3, while with the loss, Grove City closes its season at 17-6. NYU held a 27-3 shot advantage over 90 minutes of play, and was awarded nine corner kicks to the Wolverines' one.

In net for NYU, Sophia Danielsen (Coral Springs, Fla.) no shots on goal, while her counterpart, Trishae Winters (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was busy all game and turned away seven of the Violets' scoring chances.

With less than a minute left, Teressa Fazio (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) sent in a corner kick, before Pena met the ball at the edge of the box and redirected it towards goal, before the ball snuck past Winters and into the back of the cage to give the Violets a late 1-0 lead and an eventual win.