WESTFIELD, Mass. – Jenn Rennich (Bedford, Mass.) scored the game-winning goal in the 90th minute to lift Westfield State over Fitchburg State in the MASCAC Tournament quarterfinals, Tuesday night at Alumni Field.
Westfield State came out of the gate strong with a near miss from Rennich, who put a shot just above the crossbar off a pretty pass from Bella Eduardo (Springfield, Mass.) in the 9th minute.
After that, neither Fitchburg nor Westfield could muster up any scoring chances for the rest of the first half.
The Owls had two golden opportunities back-to-back in the 52nd minute of play from Nicole Chretien (North Attleboro, Mass.) and Bella Eduardo, but both were denied by Falcon goaltender Sarah Hemmings (Eastham, Mass.).
Fitchburg answered that chance with one of their own, as Elicia Marshall (Taunton, Mass.) fired a shot that made it past the Westfield keeper, but was booted out by Casey Rotti (Rutland, Mass.) to keep the game level at 0-0.
But the Owls would march back with a rally of opportunities capped off by a shot from Madison Dufries (Leicester, Mass.) that clipped the cross-bar, but still the game remained 0-0.
Westfield State finally broke through in the 74th minute when Ashley levya sent a high-arching kick over the dive of Hemmings to put the Owls up 1-0 late in the match.
But Fitchburg wasn't done yet. With eight minutes remaining in the match, sophomore Mikaela Mitchell sent a strike past Natalia Falcone (Sutton, Mass.) to even the game at one a piece.
Just when the game was destined for overtime, Jenn Rennich delivered for the Owls. Rennich took a feed from senior captain Nicole Chretien and buried it past the dive of Hemmings to lift Westfield to victory and keep their MASCAC championship hopes alive.
The loss brings a close to the season for Fitchburg State. The Falcons finished with a 3-12-1 overall record and a 2-6-0 mark in the conference.
The Owls outshot the Falcons 27-8 in the contest. Goalkeeper Natalia Falcone finished with five saves for Westfield, as Hemmings tallied 19 for the Falcons in an incredible goalkeeping effort to keep her team in it.
With the win, the Owls move on to play the #2 seed Bridgewater State on Friday at Swenson Field in Bridgewater, Mass. The start time will be announced by the conference in the days to come.