KEUKA PARK, N.Y. — The Penn State Berks women's soccer team defeated Keuka College, 4-0, in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) Championship game on Sunday afternoon at Jephson Complex. With the victory, Berks will make its sixth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Nittany Lions (15-3-2) won the NEAC title for the sixth consecutive year, but this is the first time the team has won the championship on the road. Freshman Alexis Schoener was named the Tournament MVP after tallying three goals and an assist in the two postseason contests.
Berks controlled possession of the ball from the get-go, but were unable to translate that into any goals in the early going. At the 29:57 mark of the opening half, Berks had a corner kick insert go out in front of the net. Karina Raykova headed the ball from the middle of the box to Schoener on the right side. Schoener was then able to poke the ball past the keeper to give the Nittany Lions an early 1-0 lead.
They added to that lead in the 42nd minute when Caitlin Golden had a shot attempt blocked by a defender and popped up into the air, which JoJo Zolli headed out of the air past the keeper who came off the end line to try to catch Golden's initial attempt. The score was Zolli's 10th of the season, while Golden is now tied for the team lead with nine assists.
The Wolves (13-4-1) put a shot on net at 43:47, but Bristol Pizzuto was there to make the save. With time winding down in the first half, Emily McGuigan got behind the Berks defense and heading toward the goal with speed. Pizzuto came out to defend and forced a shot wide right of the net by McGuigan to keep the shutout intact as the final seconds of the opening period ticked off the clock.
In the second half, Berks kept its foot on the throttle and came out with two shots and a corner kick over the first five minutes. Golden then struck with her 38th goal of the season in the 52nd minute with a breakaway score that was setup by a beautiful, perfectly placed deep pass over the defense by Shelby Baker.