CALDWELL, NJ - For the first time in the 16-year history of the program, the Caldwell College women's soccer team won the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament, defeating Holy Family University, 3-0, Saturday afternoon at the Wilmington University Athletic Complex. The Cougars (13-5-2) earned the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Division II East Region Tournament, which begins next week.
Caldwell, making its first appearance in the conference championship game, took control midway through the first half. Junior defender Lauren Iuliucci (Franklinville, NJ / Delsea) hit a blistering free kick from 30 yards out that Tigers’ goalkeeper Sienna Smith stopped with a diving save to her left. But sophomore midfielder Sarina Soriano (San Jose, CA / Archbishop Mitty) pounced on the rebound and scored in the 26th minute for a 1-0 lead. It was Soriano’s third goal of the tournament and fifth of the season.
Ten minutes later, Iuliucci headed a free kick from the right corner by junior midfielder Ashlee Paknis (Little Egg Harbor, NJ / Pinelands Reg.) to junior forward Natalie Migoya (Lincoln Park, NJ / Morris Catholic). Migoya then headed the ball into the goal for a commanding 2-0 lead.
Holy Family looked to get on the scoreboard early in the second half, when Ursula Coyle headed a crossing pass towards the Cougar goal. Junior goalkeeper Robin Franchi (Sewell, NJ / Deptford) dove to her right and grabbed the ball, preventing a rebound and keeping the Tigers off the scoreboard.
Less than four minutes after Franchi’s save, Migoya was taken down in the penalty area by Smith, who received a yellow card for the foul. Senior midfielder Julie Crankshaw (Lanoka Harbor, NJ / Lacey Twp.), who was named the CACC Player of the Year earlier in the week, converted the penalty kick to put the Cougars ahead, 3-0. She now has a team-leading nine goals on the season.
The defense held the rest of the way, closing out an impressive championship victory. Franchi made four saves in the win, as the Cougars did not allow a goal throughout the entire tournament. Franchi, along with defenders Iuliucci and senior Rebecca Stinger (Atco, NJ / Hammonton), were included on the all-Tournament Team, as were Soriano and Migoya. Iuliucci was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
The CACC championship comes in the team’s seventh year under head coach Nate Guagliardi, who had just 12 players on the roster in his first season. The Cougars have made the conference tournament all seven years, culminating in this season’s title run. Caldwell made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament when the field was announced on Monday.
CC – 2 1 – 3
HFU – 0 0 – 0
Scoring summary: 1. CC – Sarina Soriano 5 (Lauren Iuliucci), 25:15. 2. CC – Natalie Migoya 8 (Iuliucci, Ashley King), 35:11. 3. CC – Julie Crankshaw 9 (penalty kick), 52:22.
Shots: CC – 9; HFU – 8
Saves: CC – Robin Franchi 4; HFU – Sienna Smith 2
Corners: CC – 2; HFU – 2
Fouls: CC – 9; HFU – 11
Offsides: CC – 2; HFU – 0
Cautions: CC – none; HFU – Smith (52:22), Richards (86:45)
CACC Women’s Soccer Tournament
Quarterfinals – Nov. 5
No. 1 Holy Family 2, No. 8 Wilmington 1
No. 5 Dominican 2, No. 4 Nyack 0
No. 2 Caldwell 4, No. 7 Bloomfield 0
No. 6 Philadelphia 3, No. 3 Georgian Court 0
Semifinals – Nov. 7, Newark, Del.
No. 1 Holy Family 1, No. 5 Dominican 0
No. 2 Caldwell 1, No. 6 Philadelphia 0
Finals – Nov. 9, Newark, Del.
No. 2 Caldwell 3, No. 1 Holy Family 0