2015 NCAA Tournament
Women's Soccer First and Second Round
Saturday, November 14
Sunday, November 15
Williams 3, Westfield 0
TCNJ 4, St. Lawrence 1
Williams 3, TCNJ 0
(Williams advances to NCAA Third Round)
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- The Williams College women's soccer team will begin its quest for a national championship when it hosts the first and second round of the 2015 NCAA Div. III Tournament Saturday and Sunday on Cole Field.
The first game Saturday at 11 A.M. features Westfield State (10-6-3) versus Williams (16-1-1). St. Lawrence (13-4-2) will battle The College of New Jersey (12-3-4) in the second game at 1:30 p.m.
"The NESCAC tournament demands a really high level of competing and play that has allowed us to evolve as a team over the last two weeks," Ephs' head coach Michelyne Pinard said. "I so appreciate being a part of a conference that demands your very best every day, it prepares us well for the NCAA tournament and we're excited to see if we can make a splash again this year."
Saturday's winners will meet Sunday at 1 p.m. back on Cole Field for the right to advance to the third round of the tournament.
Here's a closer look at the teams:
The Ephs are making their 17th NCAA Tournament appearance and secured a spot in the tournament after defeating Bowdoin 2-1 in the NESCAC Tournament championship on Sunday. It was the Ephs' 7th NESCAC title and they have played in the last nine NESCAC final matches, winning six of them.
Last season the Ephs played in the NCAA Championship game in Kansas City, Missouri, but suffered a hearbreaking defeat in penalty kicks to Lynchburg College. During their NCAA run, the Ephs did not let in a single goal after the Elite Eight round. This season, the Ephs average 2.1 goals per game, have only given up 7 goals thus far this season and are 11-0-0 on their home field.
Williams had six All-NESCAC selections this season, the most of any NESCAC school. Junior forwards Kristi Kirshe and Audrey Thomas, Senior Co-Captain Mai Mitsuyama, and Junior midfielder Maddie Swarr were named to First Team. Senior Co-Captain Zoe Trutner and Junior goalkeeper Tressa Palcheck were selected for Second Team.
Kirshe and Thomas lead both the team and the conference in goals scored, with 12 and 11 respectivetly. Kirshe has 31 points wtih 7 assists and Thomas has posted 26 points and 4 assists. Mitsuyama is a critical part of the Ephs' possession attack. She excels in all areas of the pitch and sees the field extremely well. Trutner, a defender, is a key part of the Eph's ability to limit scoring chances for their opponents. Junior goalkeeper Tressa Palcheck has posted 10 shutouts with a save percentage of .883, ranking second in the NESCAC, and leads the conference with a 0.41 goals against average.
The Owls are making their first apperance in the NCAA Tournament since 2012 and enter the tournament after defeating top-seeded Worester State 1-0 in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference championship game last weekend.
Westfield had four players named to All-MASCAC teams in this 2015 season. Senior midfielder Ashley Bovat, Senior back Katy Knight, and Junior forward Kate Matroni were selected for First Team, and Freshman defender Caitlin MacGregor was named to the Second Team.
Bovat has tallied 4 goals and 2 assists this season, for a total of 10 points. Captain Knight has been named to the All-MASCAC First Team during all 4 years, and is a main reason why the Owls have only allowed 13 goals this season.
Leading the team in goals (5) and points (13) is Matroni, who is also ranked 9th in the conference for both those stats. As the only Owl to start in all 17 games, and to total the most minutes played, MacGregor has been a strong defender and led to team to a sucessful season. Junior goalkeeper Anne Stack has allowed 7 goals this season, with a save percentage of .881 and 6 shutouts..
The St. Lawrence women's soccer team earned its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1989 after finishing 16-3-1 and advancing to the championship game of the Liberty League Tournament, where it lost 2-1, in overtime.
Six members of the St. Lawrence women's soccer team were named All-League, including four players who earned first team honors Seniors Adriana Morra and Kelsey West, junior Lindsay Geier and sophomore Kaleigh White are first team selections for the Saints, while Emily DePoy garnered second team honors and Katie Stames was named honorable mention.
Morra, the Saints center back, has been a constant and steady force in the St. Lawrence defensive unit, helping the team limit opponents to 9.2 shots per game through the regular season and Liberty League tournament.
Morra's efforts particularly aid goalkeeper Kelsey West, who has played all but 80 minutes in goal for the Saints this season. To date this season, West has a .82 goals against average, and .805 save percentage, has made 60 total saves and has a 13-4-2 record with six shutouts.
In the midfield, Geier has been a key component of the Saints' efforts on counterattacks this season and recorded the first goals of her career against Western New England earlier this season. Heading into the national tournament, she has five goals and six assists for 16 points; all career highs.
Up front, Kaleigh White earned first team honors after finishing the regular season and Liberty League tournament leading the conference in goals scored with 15, tying the program's all-time record. She currently has 31 points for the season, which also leads the conference.
Second team honoree Emily DePoy was once again a consistent midfielder, tallying four goals and nine assists for 17 points thus far. She led the league in assists for a majority of the season, before being passed by honorable mention selection Katie Stames.
While Stames leads the league in assists heading into the tournament, her seven goals give her 24 points which is third among conference leaders.
The Lions dropped a heartbreaker to Rowan College in the New Jersey Athletic Conference championship game, 2-1, in an overtime decision. Nonetheless, TCNJ earned its 25th straight trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament with an at-large berth.
Senior Brianna Cummings was recognized as the 2015 NJAC Defensive Player of the Year, while six players in all were named to the all-conference teams.
Cummings started all nine conference games for the Lions this season and has been a key part of TCNJ's nationally-ranked defense that allows only 0.31 goals per game with six shutouts. The defender was also named All-NJAC First Team.
Joining Cummings on the first team were senior Taylor Lusardi and sophomore Elizabeth Thoresen. Three more players earned All-NJAC Second Team honors with that group consisting of sophomore Jessica Goldman, junior Brianna Petro and senior Jessica Weeder.
Lusardi has been a valuable midfielder for the Lions as she ranks third on the team in scoring during conference play with three goals and two assists, while Thoresen leads TCNJ with 14 points on five goals and four assists from her forward position.
Goldman is another contributor for the Lions on offense as she has one goal and three assists against league foes. Petro and Weeder are part of the defensive unit with Petro starting all nine games as a back and Weeder started six games in goal. Petro also chipped in with an assist, while Weeder went 4-1-1 in league play with a 0.34 GAA and a .867 save percentage with three shutouts.