Springfield, Mass. - November 19, 2017 - For the second-consecutive season, the Springfield College women's soccer team and NYU met in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Championship, and for the second-consecutive season, the contest went into a decisive penalty-kick shootout, as the Pride defeated the Violets, 3-0, to claim its second ECAC title in as many years on Sunday afternoon at Brock-Affleck Field.
With the win, Springfield College concluded its 2017 season with a record of 16-6-2, as the Pride's 16 wins was the most since the 2008 season. With the loss, NYU finishes the year with a mark of 13-5-4. NYU held a 19-11 shot advantage over 110 minutes of play, while it was also awarded seven corner kicks to the Pride's four.
In net for Springfield College, Ciara Boucher (Manchester, Conn.) registered seven saves, as for the second year in a row, the senior goalkeeper was named the ECAC Division III Women's Soccer Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Her counterpart, Sophia Danielsen (Coral Springs, Fla.) made four stops in the contest. With her shutout on Sunday, Boucher etched her name in the Springfield College women's soccer record books as she picked up her 11th shutout of the 2017 season, surpassing Erin Greenstein's mark of 10, set in 2010.
NYU controlled the game early, as the Violets were able to possess the ball in Springfield's defensive territory for the first 15 minutes of the contest. In the 19th minute, a hand ball in the Pride's box granted a penalty kick for NYU, which was taken by Isabelle Turner (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), but Boucher dove to her right and turned the shot away before covering up the ball to keep the game scoreless.
Towards the end of the first half, Elise Leavitt (Stratham, N.H.) curled a beautiful through ball behind the NYU back line, before Mackenzie Luiz (Newington, Conn.) caught up to it and had a breakaway with just Danielsen to beat. The sophomore got a great shot off, but Danielsen dove and knocked the shot out of mid-air with her legs to keep the Pride off the scoreboard, sending the game into the halftime break without a score.
Both teams battled for the rest of regulation, but either side was able to find the back of the net as for the second-straight year, the contest between Springfield College and NYU would go to overtime. Just like the two teams had done in regulation, overtime was just the same as both defensive units held tough for the full 110 minutes. With 1:21 to play in the second overtime period, NYU's Alex Benedict (Avon, Conn.) had a chance to bury the game-winner, and put a strong bid on cage, but Boucher came out of nowhere and turned the shot away, forcing a decisive penalty-kick shootout to determine the 2017 ECAC Division III Champion.
Shooting first for the Pride, Aly Morell (New Britain, Conn.) snuck one past the new NYU goalkeeper, Michaela Brickley (Hingham, Mass.), before Boucher dove and got a hand on a bid from Maddie Howard (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) to give Springfield College a 1-0 advantage. In Round 2, Rachel Feliu (Elkridge, Md.) found twine, as Callie Delaney (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) missed just high, giving the Pride a 2-0 edge. After Luiz found the back of the net in the third round, Boucher came up with another big stop on Sharon Lee (Redondo Beach, Calif.) clinching the victory for Springfield College.
2017 ECAC Division III Women's Soccer All-Tournament Team