WESTFIELD, Mass. – Senior forward Ashley Levya (Walpole, Mass.) scored the game winning goal with less than five minutes left in regulation time to lift #3 Westfield State to a 2-1 win over #2 Bridgewater State in the semifinals of the MASCAC Tournament in Bridgewater, Mass., on Friday night.
With the win, the Owls advance to the championship game for the second straight year and the fourth time in the last five years. The title game will be played on Sunday at Noon at Westfield State's Alumni Field, with the Owls hosting #4 Salem State, which advanced on penalty kicks (4-2 in kicks) after a 1-1 tie at #1 Worcester State.
Westfield improved to 9-6-3 on the season with tonight's win.
Owls' freshman Jenn Rennich (Bedford) figured in both of the Owls goals, as she carried the ball down the right side, cutting it back to find Levya attacking unmarked from the left side, and she buried the shot for the 2-1 lead.
Rennich's corner kick in the first half served up the assist on Casey Rotti's (Wachusset/Rutland, Mass.) goal that tied the match at 1-1 in the 27th minute.
Delaney Langton scored the lone goal for Bridgewater in the 20th minute, knocking down a cross from Amelia Burke and volleying it into the back of the net to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead.
Westfield got seven saves from senior goalkeeper Natalia Falcone (Sutton, Mass.).
Falcone and the Owls survived the final two minutes of play, which saw the Bears generate a corner kick, which the Owls defended and cleared, but on the ensuing serve into the box, the Bears Brianna Furtado got off a header that hit the right post before being cleared by Rotti with about a minute and a half left,
Finally the Bears' Mollie Shield launched a high-arcing shot from 40 yards out that drove Falcone back to her own goal line before watching the shot safely sail just over the crossbar.
Bridgewater goalkeeper Kellie Souza made six saves. The Bears season ends with a 9-6-2 overall record.
The Owls have won six MASCAC Tournament titles since 2008, defeating Worcester at Worcester, 2-1 last year, with Rotti scoring the game-winning goal and winning MVP honors. The tournament winner will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.