WORCESTER, Mass. – Westfield State University's Cora Rogers (Milford, Mass.) netted a hat-trick and scored the game-winner to lead the fourth seeded Owls to a 5-4 Little East Conference (LEC) semifinal win, upsetting the first seeded Worcester State University in a Wednesday evening matchup.
November 1, 2017
Score: Westfield State 5, Worcester State 4
Records: Westfield State (10-9) | Worcester State (15-4)
The conference matchup was nothing short of a shootout in the first 35 minutes of play on the frigid fall Wednesday night. Just about two minutes into the action-packed semifinal matchup, Worcester State's senior defender Hayley Sutherland (Tewksbury, Mass.) fired the ball into the shooting circle from where Owls goaltender Molly Duff-Still (Hatchville, Mass.) made the save. However, Worcester State's junior forward Michaila Parent (Westborough, Mass.) was hustling towards the goal to follow the play that Sutherland started and poked the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 gain. The Owls answered right back three minutes later when Rachel Bunce (East Dennis, Mass.) assisted Rogers to show the Lancers their tenacious mindset during the conference semifinal.
Worcester's sophomore forward, Olivia Antonelli (Westford, Mass.) took it upon herself to give the Lancers their second lead of the night. A minute and a half later, Rogers scored again off an assist 30-yards out from Carly Zona (Auburn, Mass.) to tie the game up 2-2. Not backing down, Megan Evans (Enfield, Conn.) stepped up and assisted Bunce following a corner on a loose ball in front of the net to give the Owls their first lead of the night. Worcester State's Parent ended the half with a reverse stick sweep to assist Jolane Thibault (Douglas, Mass.) with her 12th goal of the season to make it an exciting 3-3 score heading into the half.
The Lancer and Owl fans were erupting in the stands throughout the entire second half as the game saw another tie at 4-4 following a Worcester State goal from Katelyn Santos (Acushnet, Mass.) and a Westfield State tally from Brianah Parker (Sutton, Mass.) in the 39th and 43rd minutes, respectively. The score was in favor of the Lancers in the 39th minute as Sutherland fired ahead of Santos to assist her with the Blue and Gold's fourth goal of the game. Westfield fired back tying the score as Marina Small (South Harwich, Mass.) sent the ball off a corner that formed into a loose ball in front of the net that was picked up and finished by Parker.
Westfield's Rogers registered the game-winner and completed the hat-trick in the 56th minute on a long assist from Small. Small fired the ball from 35-yards out central and Rogers found a stick on it to complete the play. Westfield's Hannah Chadwick (West Bridgewater, Mass.) helped the Owls maintain the lead as she stopped a shot on net from Worcester's Rachel Hopkins (Chelmsford, Mass.) in the 60th minute. Worcester State had two more scoring chances in the game, but were not able to get one past Duff-Still, concluding the game in the Owls' favor 5-4.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- The game saw four ties until Westfield's leading scorer, Rogers, completed the hat-trick with the game-winner in the 56th minute. She currently has 17 goals on the season.
- Westfield State's Duff-Still earned her 8th win in net this season, stopping five shots on goal.
- Worcester State's senior goaltender, Kathryn Salemme (Boxborough, Mass.) made three saves in the 70 minute-performance.
- Each team had one defensive save on the evening: Sarah Duff's (Warren, Mass.) and Westfield's Chadwick.
- Worcester State held a slim 13-12 margin in shots throughout the contest.
- The Lancers held an 11-7 advantage in penalty corners.
No. 4 Westfield State advances to the LEC Championship and will face No. 3 Plymouth State in Plymouth, N.H. as the Panthers upset the second seeded Keene State by a score of 5-3 tonight. Worcester State concludes the 2017 campaign with a 15-4 overall record, tying the school record for most wins in a single season.
Release written by Corrie Derosier | Sports Information Intern