Lady Cougars Champions of New England
Women’s Soccer Claims Region XXI Crown
(Holyoke, MA) - The Lady Cougars soccer team won the 2017 New England Championship (Region XXI) on Sunday with a 2-0 home victory over local rival Springfield Technical CC. The New England champion Cougars are a perfect 9-0-0 in regional play this year and have registered eight shutouts while outscoring their opposition 54-1.
Lady Cougars' co-captain Allison Zollo (Monson HS / Monson, MA) led the way as the most dominant player on the field in Sunday's win, anchoring Holyoke's defense and stifling STCC attackers for the duration of the contest. In addition to her stellar defending, Zollo scored the Cougars' second goal, heading a perfectly placed Emma Gomes (Ludlow HS / Ludlow, MA) corner kick past the opposing goalkeeper. Tamara Nicholson (Chicopee HS / Chicopee, MA), who played exceptionally in all three matchups against STCC this season, opened the scoring for the Cougars when she sprinted past the Lady Rams defense before depositing the ball in the back of the net. Holyoke's sophomores each played an enormous role in Sunday's win as co-captain McKenzie Wilson (Smith Academy / South Hadley, MA) and defender Catherine Hotham (Hampshire Regional HS / Southampton, MA) joined Zollo and Gomes among the team's outstanding performers, with Hotham tallying an assist. Goalkeeper Maddisin Atkinson (Smith Vocational HS / Easthampton, MA) made two saves, earning her 11th and the team's 12th shutout this season.
The Lady Cougars have an overall record of 14-4-0 and the New England championship is the sixth consecutively for the HCC women's soccer program as well as its tenth in the past 12 years. Holyoke has not lost a game in regional play since 2011. Up next for the Cougars is a district championship game at Nassau CC on Saturday October 28th at 7:30pm. The 2016 district championship saw the Cougars fall short at home to the same opponent in a heartbreaking 1-0 double overtime loss and earlier this season Holyoke defeated Nassau by a 2-0 score in a game played at HCC. The winner of Saturday's district championship earns the opportunity to play in the NJCAA National Championship Tournament (Elite Eight). Let's go Cougars!!
Photos: (Main) The 2017 Lady Cougars soccer team celebrates their New England championship after Sunday's win. (Thumbnail) Holyoke's four sophomores pose with the Region XXI championship plaque. L-R Catherine Hotham, McKenzie Wilson, Allison Zollo and Emma Gomes.