CASTLETON, Vt. – Bronwen Hopwood scored with less than five minutes remaining in the second overtime to give Castleton University a 1-0 victory over Husson University Saturday evening in the final of the 2017 North Atlantic Conference Women's Soccer Tournament held at Spartan Stadium.
With the victory, Castleton improves to 11-7-2 and earns the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Husson's season ends with a 9-7-1 overall record.
Hopwood took a through ball and made a couple of moves on the Husson defenders trying to stop her. She entered the box, avoided Husson goalie Sami Ireland, and sent her shot into the lower left corner of the net to clinch the victory for the Spartans.
Although the first half was scoreless, both teams created scoring opportunities, starting with Castleton on back-to-back shots by Hopwood and Rylee Nichols that were stopped by Ireland. The Eagles responded with shots from Joan Overman, Brianna Saulter, and Leah Hibbad, but all three were turned away by Spartan keeper Kiley Baran.
Midway through the first half, Husson created its best scoring chance of the first half, but a header by Taylor Fortin was stopped by Baran. A few minutes later, Makenzi Bellando nearly put Castleton on the board after breaking free towards the goal, but her shot sailed wide right.
The second half saw more back-and-forth action, with each team able to create a couple of scoring chances. Midway through the second half, Hopwood sent a shot on net that Ireland turned away. As the second half wound down, the Eagles attempted to get on the board first, but Baran was able to control shots by Allison Carey and Kathryn McGinnis.
Hibbad had the only chance of the first overtime, but Baran made her ninth and final save of the night. The Spartans controlled possession in the second overtime leading up to Hopwood's game-winning tally.
Baran was named MVP of the NAC Tournament and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by teammates Bellando, Kaitie Sanders, Hopwood, and Nichols. Hibbad, Kylie O'Connell, and Alex Speed represented Husson on the All-Tournament Team. Abbie Sansoucy and Corrie Hoyt of Colby-Sawyer and Kayla Pugliese and Jaycie Triandafilou of New England College were also named to the All-Tournament Team.
Castleton will find out its NCAA Tournament destination during the selection show on NCAA.com Monday afternoon, Nov. 6.