MANSFIELD, Conn. - The regionally-ranked Wheaton College women's soccer team scored three second-half goals en route to a 4-0 shutout over Mitchell College in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Eastern Connecticut State University's Mansfield Outdoor Complex, as the Lyons advance to the second round for the 10th time in 11 straight appearances.
Improving to 17-4-2 overall, Wheaton, which is sixth in New England by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), will face nationally-ranked and unbeaten Eastern on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. with a spot in next weekend's sectional round on the line. The Mariners, who were appearing in the school's first NCAA Tournament, finished their season at 10-8-1. The Warriors are ranked 14th nationally and tied for second in the region.
Sophomore Cassey Muse (Candia, N.H./Central) scored her team-leading 11th goal of the season and added an assist to pace the Lyon attack. Classmate Kierstin Luber (Cedar Park, Texas/Cedar Park) picked up her first career goal, which proved to be the game-winner and lone marker of the first frame. Her 36th-minute tally was lifted over the Mitchell keeper.
After taking 17 of the 18's opening-half shots, Wheaton had better success in the second frame, as the Lyons converted three of their 14 chances during a 15:50 span. Senior Colleen Liffers (Merrimac, Mass./Pentucket Regional) made the score 2-0 after sneaking her shot inside the left post at 52:19. The play began with a long pass near midfield from classmate Alessia Viscomi (Newton, Mass./Newton North).
Junior Emily Vincunas (Granville, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Academy) and Muse found the back of the net over 5:40 to provide the final margin of victory. Vincunas weaved through a number of Mariners before directing a beautifully-placed ball into the left corner at the 62:49 mark. The Lyons' final goal came off a corner kick from freshman Rebecca Raymond (Lowell, Mass./Lowell), who found Muse for the quick finish, at 68:09.
Wheaton junior goalie Erin Cawley (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield) needed just one stop to collect her first NCAA win, while Mitchell freshman Kaylee Woodford (Niantic, Conn./Morgan) was credited with 12 saves. The Lyons finished with a 31-3 shot advantage while taking all four corners. Wheaton was also whistled for 11 offside calls.