Women’s Soccer Win MAAC Title

The women’s soccer team clinched the regular season MAAC title this past week after improving to 8-1 in conference play with two victories.

The team increased their winning streak to six games against the Iona Gaels Wednesday, Oct. 22 in a wet and rainy battle on Hesse Field. The cold rainy weather made for an entertaining inter-conference match, with the Hawks eventually earning 2-0 win. It was head coach Krissy Turner’s 200th career win.

It all started in the first ten minutes of play with instant offensive pressure. The MU offense consistently kept the ball out of the defensive end, even outshooting the Gaels 11-3 but could not capitalize. In the tenth minute of the game, MU had its first chance. Junior back Colleen Howard swept a cross to sophomore forward Alexis McTamney for a clear shot on goal, only to be denied by a header off of Iona’s defense. In the 30th minute, the Hawks attempted three more shots off a corner play but were once again blocked by Iona goalkeeper Lauren Ferris. The score sat at 0-0.

Sophomore forward Erica Murphy and freshman forward Rachelle Ross each fired shots but missed just high and wide for the Hawks. With minutes left in the first half, junior midfielder Brianne Boyle and McTamney gave the Iona goalkeeper a little more heat, only to have the clock run out. With the score tied at zero, the second half was a new game, but one just as wet.

“In the second half we needed to finish our opportunities, considering we had more shots in the first half. Iona was playing in the same weather conditions and we couldn’t use that as an excuse. We needed to increase our confidence and focus on finishing the job,” said junior back Colleen Howard.

The Hawks offense came out on fire, hungry for a goal. McTamney carried up to the Iona defensive box in a 1v1 attempt to find Ross. Ross’s shot was denied. The MU offense finally broke through when Ross finally connected with sophomore forward Julie Spracklin. Ross crossed the ball into the box and Spracklin finished with a clean touch to the far corner, putting the Hawks in the lead 1-0. It was Spracklin’s fifth goal of the season.

MU’s defense remained warm and ready for any action in the last few minutes, allowing only four shots on goal in the half. With just three minutes remaining, Howard and McTamney got to finish what they started in the first half. Howard shot from the far right side only to find McTamney there for a finish on the right post, earning McTamney her sixth goal of the season and Howard her second career assist. The Hawks solidified their lead at 2-0 just to give Turner more of a reason to celebrate. In celebration, the Hawks beamed with pride for Turner’s accomplishment.

“Coach Turner has not only helped us become great players on the field, but also made us better individuals in the classroom. Her wisdom and positive energy empowers us everyday and we all feel honored to be a part of this wonderful accomplishment,” raved Howard.

The Hawks racked up stats on all ends this past Wednesday. MU outshot Iona College 18-7 while the defense allowed only one shot on goal all night. It was the ninth overall, and third consecutive, shutout for the Hawks, extending their record to 12-4 overall.

The women improved their winning streak to seven games on Saturday afternoon as they defeated league rival, the Marist Red Foxes. With a final score of 1-0, the game also accounted for the Hawks fourth consecutive shutout. Even more important, the win secured MU a spot in the upcoming 2014 MAAC Women’s Soccer Championship and a first round bye.

In the 87th minute of play, Murphy made an unassisted goal giving MU a reason to celebrate. MU outshot the Red Foxes, 11-3, and D’Agostino registered one save. The Hawks are now 13-4 overall and 8-1 in the conference.

MU will finish its regular season on Wednesday, Oct. 29 when they visit Rider University for a 7 pm game.

PHOTO TAKEN by Taylor Jackson