Top Seeds Advance to Sunday's New England Final
HOLYOKE, MA - Top-seeded Holyoke Community College along with second-seeded Manchester Community College will advance to tomorrow's NJCAA Division III New England Final at O'Connell Field. The HCC Lady Cougars squeezed out a 1-0 semi-final win earlier this afternoon over 4th seeded Massasoit while the MCC Cougars cruised past 3rd seeded Bunker Hill en route to a 3-0 victory.
With very little happening offensively in today's #1 vs. #4 match, the general feeling at the field was that overtime and possibly penalty kicks would be needed to appoint a winner. Momentum swung in favor of HCC in the 60th minute when freshman defender Jenn Galindo (Chicopee; shown above) netted a corner kick that hooked directly into the top-right corner of the goal. One goal would prove to be enough as the Cougars played outstanding defense throughout the semi-final match.
This afternoon's second match between Manchester CC and Bunker Hill CC, also scoreless until the second half, featured goals from three different players. Sophomore midfielder Jenna Allison scored the first MCC goal in the 51st minute assisted by freshman defender Beth-Anne Stehr. Sophomore midfielder Gina DiPrato scored un-assisted in the 74th minute followed by a free-kick goal from sophomore defender Kristen Lackman (shown celebrating with teamates below).
Holyoke returns to the New England Final for the 8th
straight season, every year that Head Coach Rob Galazka has been at the helm (regional champs in '06, '08, '09 and '10). The Cougars will play Manchester to determine the 2011 NJCAA Division III New England champion tommorrow at noon. HCC took the previous two 2011 meetings between these two programs by scores of 1-0 and 2-1.
Story and Photos by Matt Patenaude