No. 9 Holyoke Claims Regional Championship Over Massasoit Women's Soccer, 2-0

No. 9 Holyoke Claims Regional Championship Over Massasoit Women's Soccer, 2-0

HOLYOKE, Mass. ---- The Massasoit Community College women's soccer team played neck-and-neck with the ninth-ranked Holyoke CC Cougars in the Region XXI Championship on Saturday, but the Warriors came up on the short end, falling 2-0 to conclude the season. 

Massasoit finishes the 2014 campaign at 9-7 overall, a three-win improvement from last season.

The first half was evenly played between both the Warriors and Cougars. A defensive battle in the opening stanza did not see either team get a shot off until the 17th minute of action.

HCC (12-5-1) had the first scoring opportunity in the 32nd minute, when a pass snuck through the Warriors' defensive back line to Cougar midfielder Nicole Callini. However, Massasoit sweeper Haley Wells (Whitman) tipped the ball away to keep the game scoreless.

The game looked to go into the half at 0-0. After a foul was whistled on the Warriors, Holyoke knocked a free kick from 40 yards out into the box and Callini headed the ball to the back of the net with just 53 seconds left sending the Cougars into the locker room up 1-0.

"Those two kids (Nicole Callini and Jessica Teodore) are great players," head coach Jim Stapleton said. "In the first half it was just a silly mistake. (Nicole) Callini wasn't taking the restart kick and I was trying to yell at one of the girls to get back. They hit a perfect ball and Callini heads it unmarked, which she shouldn't have been. We wanted to get to halftime scoreless, so that hurt."

Massasoit had it's best scoring chance in the 50th minute, when Olivia Curtin (Abington) crossed a pass into the goalie box to Warrior leading scorer Kayla Gomes (Halifax), but her kick just sailed high over the goal for the potential equalizer.

After the first half only featured nine total shots (HCC 5, Massasoit 4), the final 45 minutes saw plenty of opportunities. The Cougars struck again in the 67th minute with some insurance, when Jessica Teodore rifled a left-footed shot from 25 yards out to put the home squad up 2-0.

"In the second half, the only time that Kelsey (Daggett) lost Teodore, she rips a 25-yard shot for a goal," Stapleton said. "I thought some of the girls played really well today especially the four second-year girls, Stephanie Villanueva (Whitman), Zhandali Fontes (Taunton), Olivia Curtin (Abington) and Katie Arnold (Weymouth)."

The Warriors would take nine shots in the second half, but outside of Gomes' try, none were much of a threat to the Cougar defense.

Gina Nutting (Rockland) finished with a team-high three total shots to pace the offense.

On the defensive end, Laura Ellis (Raynham) made nine saves, seven in the second half, in the loss.

DEJA VU: For the second straight season, the Massasoit women's soccer team fell to Holyoke in the Region XXI Championship by a score of 2-0. Saturday's contest was nearly a year to the day of last year's finals, as the Cougars topped the Warriors 2-0 on Oct. 26, 2013.

FIRST TIME SHUTOUT: Saturday's 2-0 loss at Holyoke marked the first time Massasoit had been shutout since losing in the regional finals, 2-0, to Holyoke during the 2013 season.

SOPHOMORE SEND OFF: Four sophomores played their final game for the Warriors on Saturday in Katie Arnold, Olivia Curtin, Zhandali Fontes and Stephanie Villanueva.

THREE-WIN IMPROVEMENT: Despite falling in the finals, Massasoit finished 9-7 in 2014, totaling three more wins than a season ago. In addition, the Warriors found the back of the net 20 more times than last year ending the season with 52 total goals.