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WestConn advances to sectional round of NCAA Division III Championships

WestConn advances to sectional round of NCAA Division III Championships

DANBURY, Conn. - After defeating Rowan University, 2-0 and Endicott College, 3-1 this past weekend, the Western Connecticut State University women's soccer team has advanced to the Sectionals of the 2007 NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship at Williams College on Saturday and Sunday, November 17 and 18. The Ephs will host the sectionals at Cole Field in Williamstown, Mass. this weekend.

WestConn (19-2-1) will face Worcester State College (16-5-0) at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, shortly after Hamilton College (16-5-0) takes on the host Williams College (17-0-0) at 11 a.m. The winners of Saturday's matches will meet on Sunday at 1 p.m. If weather conditions become an issue, Williams has the luxury of moving the games to an artificial surface, Lamb Field.

The Colonials defeated the Lancers, 2-0 back on October 10 behind two goals from senior forward Kim Crayco (Bolton, Conn.). She netted a goal in each victory over the Profs and Endicott this past weekend and is now second on the team with 14 goals and 29 points.

WestConn, winners of 15 of its last 16 games, dropped a 4-0 decision to Williams College on September 18, but immediately went on a stretch over 1,033 minutes without allowing a goal. It has never faced Hamilton College since the program began in 1994.

This fall marks the first time WestConn has won two games in a single NCAA Tournament and advanced to its third round. The Colonials advanced to the Round of 16 back in 2001 when only 32 teams were invited to the NCAAs. They have now appeared in the second round of the NCAAs five times, 2000, 2001, and the past three campaigns. On November 3rd, WestConn won the Little East Conference Tournament with a 2-1 victory over Eastern Connecticut State University to earn an automatic berth into its seventh NCAA Tournament (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2007).

Junior forward Catherine Nathans (New Fairfield, Conn.) leads WestConn and LEC with 16 goals and seven assist for 39 points. She scored two goals in Sunday's win over the Gulls. Jessica Sperlazza (Wallingford, Conn.) netted an insurance goal against the Profs to round out the scoring in the first and second rounds.

LEC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, sophomore midfielder Cassie Barbaresi (Bridgeport, Conn.) has seven goals and a team and LEC-high 14 assists on the year. She assisted on all three goals in Sunday's victory over Endicott. In the LEC Tournament, Barbaresi scored both goals in the LEC championship and assisted the game-tying goal with 2:02 remaining in the Colonials' double-overtime semi-final win over Rhode Island College. Eleven of Barbaresi's 14 assists have come in WestConn's last 12 games, a stretch in which it is 11-1.

Defensively, senior keeper Jenna Cappellieri (Stratford, Conn.) has a minuscule 0.53 goals-against-average and has made 88 saves in 22 outings. She has 10 of the team's 15 shut outs, including the blanking of the Profs on Saturday. Shannon Cawley (Willimantic, Conn.) has appeared in five games and has allowed two goals over a stretch of 113 minutes.

The defense is bolstered by Caitlin Boyle (Brookfield, Conn.), Lindy Winchell (Wethersfield, Conn.), Amanda Genova (New Milford, Conn.) and Heather Garrity (Rocky Hill, Conn.) in the back third. WestConn has out shot its opponents 526-228 and have allowed just 99 shots on goal.

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