PAWTUCKET, R.I. – The top-two seeds will square off for the Little East Conference (LEC) Women's Soccer tournament title Saturday after top-seeded UMass Boston defeated fourth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University and second-seeded Western Connecticut State University dispatched sixth-seeded Castleton University in Thursday's semifinals. The rematch of last year's LEC final will get underway at 4 p.m. at UMass Boston.
No. 1 UMass Boston 2, No. 4 Eastern Connecticut 0 – Box Score
FOR THE RECORD: The Beacons improved to 18-2-1 with the victory, which sends them to the conference final for the fifth time in program history. UMass Boston's lone title win came back in 2012. The Warriors' season ended at 7-12-0.
HOW IT HAPPENED: The match was scoreless until the Mary Jo Murphy lifted a shot from the top of the 18-yard box over the top of Alexis Tyrrell in the 62nd minute to put UMass Boston out in front for good. Grace McGettrick gave the Beacons an insurance tally in the 76th minute for the 2-0 final, redirecting a bid from Jahlyla Ocampo into the back of the net. Allie Crawford had an assist on both Beacon goals.
Maria Spylios needed to make just three saves to earn the shutout decision in goal for UMass Boston, which outshot Eastern Connecticut 19-7 and owned a 6-1 advantage on corner kicks. Tyrrell totaled 10 saves in taking the loss in net for the Warriors.
No. 2 Western Connecticut 3, No. 6 Castleton 1 – Box Score
FOR THE RECORD: The Colonials improved to 14-5-2 with the victory, which sent the four-time defending LEC champs to the tournament final for the 14th time in its 21-year history. WestConn will be in search of its LEC-record 12th LEC tournament championship. The Spartans season ends at 10-10-0 in 2019 following their first-ever LEC semifinal appearance.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Western Connecticut applied pressure from the opening whistle and jumped out in front early as Skylar Jorge put home a pass from Kaleigh Panek just 13 minutes in, but Castleton would answer in the 31st minute as Makenzi Bellando carried the ball and sent the ball past Karly Martin to tie the match at 1-all. The two teams remained tied at the half despite the Colonials outshooting the Spartans 19-5.
WestConn regained the lead for good when Panek put home the rebound off a bid from Myah Croze in the 69th minute, and a converted penalty by Croze 10 minutes later accounted for the 3-1 final.
Martin totaled six saves to earn the decision in net for the Colonials, while Loren Henderson registered 18 stops in defeat for Castleton. WestConn finished the match with a 36-13 advantage in shots and held an 8-2 margin on corners.