EWING, NJ - The Western Connecticut State University women's soccer's 14th appearance in the NCAA Division III national championships ended with the Colonials falling to seventh ranked The College of New Jersey, 4-0 at Lions Stadium on a windy and blustery Saturday afternoon.
The Colonials, 14-9 and recent winners of their 11th Little East Conference title, held on for a 1-0 deficit over the nearly 72 minutes before the Lions rattled off three goals in a span of just over three minutes.
Jen McGrogan notched her first goal of the season to put the hosts up, 1-0 at the 21:48 mark. Her corner kick avoided a crowd in front of the goal for the lead midway through the first stanza.
At the break, WestConn, after having the advantage of the wind at its back, remained close in shot attempts, trailing the Lions, 9-4.
The second half was quite different.
At the 71:56 mark, Randi Smith tallied her second goal of the year off a feed from Despina Lianidis. The wind-aided shot travelled all the way into the back of the net. It was one of 14 attempts at goal by TCNJ in the second stanza.
Lauren McLaughlin scored her third goal of the season off a double assist from Ally Weaver and Haley Bodden at the 80:05 mark.
Three minutes later, Julianna Bertolino scored her second goal of the campaign. Her shot from the right side, 20 yards out, closed out the game's scoring.
By game's end, the Lions finished with a 23-5 advantage on shot attempts, including a 12-2 bulge in shots at goal.
"We were up against a quality team today and I thought we played well for the first 70 minutes or so, then TCNJ took over," stated WestConn head coach Alex Harrison. "We are happy to make our 14th trip to the NCAAs. We were simply outmatched today."
TCNJ, now 14-1-1 will take on Farmingdale State, which defeated Brandeis University in the other first-round contest,
WestConn freshman keeper Karly Martin (Bristol, CT) suffered the loss after allowing three goals and making eight saves over the first 81 minutes. Alexis Lainchbury (Hopewell Junction, NY) allowed a goal and did not have to make a save down the stretch.
Nicole DiPasquale was only challenged twice in goal for the winners.