November 5, 2009

Lyons gunning for eighth NEWMAC Tournament title in last decade

NORTON, MA- The nationally-ranked Wheaton College women's soccer team enters this weekend's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament gunning for its eighth league tourney title in the last decade, as the second-seeded Lyons travel to Wellesley College for a Saturday semifinal game versus third seed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at 1:30 p.m.

Capturing a share of its 11th consecutive regular season conference championship, Wheaton's appearance in this year's semifinal round marks its 15th straight.  The Lyons hold a 3-1 postseason series advantage over MIT, including a 2-0 victory during the 2007 semifinal round.  Saturday's first semifinal features top seed and regular season co-champion Wellesley against fourth seed and defending tournament champion Springfield College at 10:30 a.m.  Sunday's title game is slated for 1:00 p.m. 

Looking to gain entry into its 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament, the Blue and White begins Saturday's action with a 17-2-2 mark and rankings of 25th nationally and fourth regionally by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).  Wheaton finished the league's regular season slate at 6-1-2, blanking eight of its opponents while holding an 18-2 scoring advantage.  During last Saturday's first-round game against number-seven Babson College, the Lyons scored late for a 2-1 win.  At 10-5-2 and 5-2-2, MIT blanked sixth seed Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), 4-0 on Saturday.  In the regular season, Wheaton defeated the Engineers by a 2-0 count in Cambridge.

Wheaton is on a season-high-tying seven-game unbeaten streak, having gone 5-0-2 with six shutouts in that stretch while suffering just one loss in its last 13 games.  The Lyons lead the NEWMAC in goals scored and scoring defense, having tallied 44 goals while surrendering eight.  Wheaton also paces the league with a 0.37 goals against average and 15 shutouts.  The Blue and White is ninth in Division III in GAA while standing second in New England.  Boasting a 24-1-3 mark during their last 28 conference tournament games, the Lyons have blanked the opposition in 15 of their last 16 tourney wins.

Sixteen different players have found the back of the net, with freshman Cassey Muse (Candia, NH/Central) leading the charge with league bests of 15 goals, 33 points and eight game-winners.  Muse's 15 markers are the third-highest freshman total in program history.  Senior back and forward Lyndsey McManus (Marshfield, MA/Marshfield) has contributed seven goals, nine assists and three game-winners, while junior Emily Hough (Norwich, VT/Hanover), who has also played in the front and back, adds three goals, a league-high 10 assists and two game-winners.

Junior Alessia Viscomi (Newton, MA/Newton North) anchors Wheaton's stingy defense, as the Lyons have held their opponents to a goal or less 19 times.  Sophomore goalie Lindsay Leddy (Warwick, RI/Wheeler School) is 15-2-2 with a 0.42 GAA and seven shutouts in 19 starts.  She paces the NEWMAC in GAA and is tied for first in shutouts and tied for second in save percentage.  Leddy is tied for sixth in program history in single-season wins and tied for seventh in shutouts.

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