Wheaton and Springfield even in NEWMAC title game, Lyons fall in PKs

Wheaton and Springfield even in NEWMAC title game, Lyons fall in PKs

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.- The third-seeded Wheaton College women's soccer  team played in its eighth overtime game of the season and fourth in its last seven contests during Sunday's  New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament championship, as the Lyons overcame a two-goal deficit to draw event with host and top seed Springfield College before falling in penalty kicks.

Recorded as a tie, Wheaton's program-high sixth of the season, the 16-1-6 Lyons will await tomorrow's NCAA Tournament selection show with the hopes of landing an at-large bid.  Wheaton is ranked 16th in the country and third in New England by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).  The Pride, which stands tied for sixth in the region, picked up the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, is 13-4-2.

With the game deadlocked at two after regulation and two overtimes, Wheaton faced a shootout for the second time in as many days.  The Lyons once again turned to freshman goalie Ali Hinton (Lafayette, Colo./Alexander Dawson School), who made a huge save on Springfield's opening attempt.

The Pride converted on its next three kicks, and Wheaton seniors Kierstin Luber (Cedar Park, Texas/Cedar Park) and Cassey Muse (Candia, N.H./Central) and sophomore Lauren Corigliano (Roselle Park, N.J./Roselle Park) also found the back of the net to leave kicks tied at three following four rounds.  Springfield made its next shot before saving the visitors' final attempt to take the title.

After getting outshot by a 7-1 margin while surrendering two goals during a 1:41 span of the opening half, which included a penalty-kick marker at 18:16, the Lyons responded in the final 15 minutes of regulation.  Wheaton tallied its two goals just 1:44 apart to knot the game.

With 14:30 to go, freshman Cat Amick (Vashon, Wash./Vashon Island) headed a corner kick from junior Kristina Braga (Lowell, Mass./Lowell) to a charging senior Tara Caney (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield), whose finish sliced Wheaton's deficit in half.

In the 78th minute, freshman Julia Cipriano (Middlebury, Conn./Pomperaug) delivered a beautiful through ball to Muse, who shielded off her defender and carried the ball into the box before poking her shot into the bottom right corner of the net.

In the first overtime, Springfield's 30-yard shot sailed over the crossbar.  In the second extra session, Muse found Braga breaking toward the goal.  Braga escaped the Springfield keeper and had a clean look at the goal, but a Pride defender caught up to the play and cleared the ball of our harm's way.

Wheaton freshman goalie Taylor Wilson (Bellingham, Mass./Bellingham) made a season-best eight saves, while Pride senior Erin Greenstein (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) had three stops.

The host held a slight 14-12 edge in shots, and the Lyons took three of five corner kicks.