DRYDEN, N.Y. -- Following their come from behind win in the New England Championship game against Bunker Hill Community College, the Holyoke Community College women's soccer team traveled to Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, N.Y., for the 2012 NJCAA National Championship. Winning two out of three matches, the Lady Cougars finished in fifth place, capping off one of the most successful seasons in the history of the program.
Advancing to the National Elite Eight for the fifth time since Head Coach Rob Galazka took over the team in 2004, Holyoke drew #1 overall seed Mohawk Valley Community College in their first match. After leading 1-0 at halftime and 2-1 late in the second half, the Cougars let in two goals in the final nine minutes as Mohawk Valley stole a late win 3-2. HCC recieved goals from freshman midfielder Kristy Cominoli (Northfield) and freshman forward Tai Lopez (Springfield) while sophomore goalkeeper Malynda Riopelle (Springfield) made eleven saves.
HCC played Broome Community College in the Consolation Game and after allowing a goal with 45 seconds remaining (1-1), the match came down to penalty kicks. The Cougars would advance on PK's 4-3 as sophomore defender Regan Teixeira (Northampton), freshman midfielder Kara Peters (Feeding Hills), sophomore midfielder Laura Masciotra (Agawam) and freshman defender Taylor Kachinski (Palmer) all found the back of the net in the shootout.
The Lady Cougars played their third game, the Fifth Place Game, against Harper College. For the third time in as many games, they would hold a 1-0 lead at the half. Eager to end their season with a win, HCC held on for a 2-1 victory as sophomore forward Brittany McCarthy (Chicopee) netted a penalty kick late in the second half to close out the tournament.
With their only loss coming to the eventual champion of the tournament, Holyoke Community made an impressive showing at the National Tournament. They finish 2012 with an overall record of 19-3-2 and a New England Championship.
The 2012 team also left their mark on the HCC record books. The Lady Cougars' 19 wins is a new all-time program record, passing the old mark of 15 wins set by the 2009 team. Scoring 105 goals this year, they shattered the record of 89 goals in a seaosn set back in 2006. Rattling off eleven straight wins puts this year's team atop the list of consecutive wins in a season and their 14 shutouts is good for first place as well.
Photos: (Left) The 2012 HCC Women's Soccer team. (Right) Sophomore defender Robin Teixeira, from Northampton, earned All-Tournament honors.