Lady Cougars Fall Short at National Tournament
McCarthy Named to All-Tournament Team
(Rockford, IL) - The Lady Cougars soccer team enjoyed a mid-semester trip to Illinois to participate in the NJCAA Division III Women's Soccer National Championship Tournament hosted by Rock Valley CC from November 7th - 11th. Holyoke earned their spot at NJCAA's "Elite 8" tournament by winning the District G Championship, returning HCC's women's soccer program to the National Championships for the first time since 2013.
Holyoke squared off against two of the strongest teams in NJCAA Division III during the national tournament. Unfortunately, the Cougars were unable to play their best and did not display the smart and determined soccer that won them a district and New England championship. They lost their national quarterfinal game to eventual national champions Richland College before falling in their consolation game to Herkimer College. On the tournament's second day, the Lady Cougars had the unique opportunity to play a collegiate soccer game in an indoor facility, as all of the day's games were moved inside due to snow and ice covering the outdoor field.
Lady Cougar sophomore co-captain Shannon McCarthy (Chicopee, MA / Chicopee Comprehensive HS) played brilliantly at nationals and was among 15 players chosen to the All-Tournament Team. McCarthy played two strong games from her center midfield position, displaying the outstanding soccer she has shown all season long. Fellow sophomore co-captain Jessica Patruno (Granby, MA / Granby HS) played remarkably, anchoring a Cougars' defense that had to contend with several very strong opposing attackers. Patruno and McCarthy led the sophomore class who all played well in their final games in the HCC uniform. Miranda Grochowski (Westfield, MA / Westfield HS) and Madison Zollo (Monson, MA / Monson HS) were stellar in the midfield, both battling relentlessly throughout the tournament, and Olivia Brooks (Agawam, MA / Agawam HS) worked hard playing as a forward and midfielder.
The Lady Cougars finish the 2018 season with an overall record of 13-8-1 and a Division III NJCAA record of 13-6-1. Holyoke's regional record was 11-1-0 and they won the New England Championship. The regional championship is the program's 7th in a row and 11th in the past 13 years. The Lady Cougars also won the District Championship and six HCC players will be named to the All-New England (All-Region) Team.
Photos: (Main) Shannon McCarthy prepares to take a shot during the Lady Cougars' season finale in Rockford, IL. (Thumbnail) Jessica Patruno sends the ball forward during Holyoke's national quarterfinal game.