Western New England Captures Fifth CCC Men's Championship Since 2007
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--No. 2 seed Western New England scored one goal in each half en route to a 2-0 victory over visiting fifth-seeded Roger Williams in the 2013 Commonwealth Coast Conference Men's Soccer Championship before a season-best 689 fans at Suprenant Field on Saturday. The Golden Bears, who improve to 5-0 all-time in CCC title games, move to 15-4-3 on the year and clinch the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament; the Hawks fall to 15-5-2.
Western New England is making its first NCAA III Men's Soccer Championship appearance since 2011 and eighth in program history.
The Golden Bears got all the offense they would need in the 14th minute on a goal by freshman Brandon Bolger, and Chad Barrett added an unassisted tally for insurance in the 54th.
Bolger scored his first career collegiate goal on a set piece when senior Ryan Williams delivered a perfectly placed corner kick to Bolger in the box and he headed it into the back of the net. For Williams, he registered his team-leading 10th assist of the season to extend his personal record.
Just moments earlier, senior Jake Bartnik thought he had given WNE a 1-0 lead but hit shot was blocked on the goal line by Cooper Allebrand.
Three minutes and 9 nine seconds after Bolger did put the Golden Bears up 1-0, Daniel Caruso had a solid scoring chance for RWU but his second shot in a 13-minute span went wide. Caruso ended up with a team-leading four shots for the Hawks.
In the second half, Barrett notched his first goal of the season after he pounced on a loose ball at the top of the penalty area and calmly chipped the ball over the head of the keeper who had come off his goal line. The play was set up by a right-wing cross into the box that didn't get completely cleared by the Hawks defense.
Senior co-captain Domenick Villano made four saves to post his 10th shutout of 2013 and the Golden Bears starting defensive corps of senior co-captain Kevin Parma, senior Jon Axton, junior Chris Bruton, sophomore Colin Macdonald and Bolger helped in the team's 11th overall.
Caruso had a golden opportunity to get the Hawks on the scoreboard in the 69th minute, but he was stoned by Parma who was on the goal line following a RWU corner kick.
Goalie Jon Pelloso tried to keep Roger Williams close by making a game-high five stops, including a couple difficult saves.
Besides the scoreboard, WNE also enjoyed advantages in shots (14-9), shots on goal (8-5) and corner kicks (7-1).
Western New England--ranked fourth in the latest NCAA Division III New England rankings--will await its opponent and site in the first round of the NCAA Tournament when the Division III Selection Committee announces the field on Monday.
Roger Williams, which was trying to earn its first CCC championship since 2006, will discover on Monday as well if its resumé is enough to earn an at-large NCAA berth.