Matties scores in OT to help Endicott earn second CCC title in a row
BEVERLY, Mass. -- On Saturday at North field, top-seeded Endicott defeated No. 3 Nichols 2-1 in sudden death to repeat as champions and win the program's second CCC title. For the second consecutive year, Endicott midfielder Taylor Matties scored in overtime to send the Gulls to victory.
Matties struck three minutes and 16 seconds into overtime with her sixth goal of the year, which was reminiscent of last year's title game in which she lifted the Gulls to a 2-1 victory against New England just a minute into the extra period.
"I think it's a product of the hard work that Taylor [Matties] and the whole team put in throughout the game," head coach Jodi Cipolla said. "The whole team just stuck together and when fatigue set in, our team's energy and emotions carried us through."
Victory did not come easily for Endicott, as Nichols dominated the first half, outshooting Endicott 12-3 and having a 9-2 edge in penalty corners. The Bison got in front just over seven minutes into play on a shot from the top of the right circle by freshman Meghan Dombkowski. The assist went to top-scorer and co-CCC Offensive Player of the Year Emily Widdison, her ninth helper and CCC-high 55th point of the season.
The Gulls tied the game five minutes later when sophomore Kathryn Walker picked up the rebound off a shot by Hannah Thornberg and buried her fifth goal of the season.
From there the teams played to a stalemate for the next hour, though Endicott put pressure on the Bison in the second half, outshooting the visitors 8-3. Both goalkeepers were kept busy during the game, with Endicott senior Taylor Teixeira making 10 stops, including seven in the first half.
Sophomore Molly Melanson made six saves in the game for Nichols, five of them after the halftime break. The Bison also had goals called back in each half, which seemed to deflate their attack for brief moments, but they kept the pressure on and Endicott needed to step up its play as the game wore on.
"I felt like our defense really won this game for us because Nichols put a lot of offensive pressure on us," Cipolla said. "We started off timid but our momentum grew as the game went on."
Endicott (15-4) earns the CCC automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament, and will find out its opponent and game site during Monday's selection show. The Gulls led the CCC for the entire season, finishing with a 9-1 record and earning the top seed for the consecutive season.
Last year, they travelled to Keene State for their NCAA appearance and battled hard but fell 2-0. This year, Coach Cipolla believes that they will be better prepared.
"We're excited to see where we're going and who we match up against. Having a year of experience under our belt is going to work in our favor," Cipolla said. "We had one senior last year and we are going back with five now. All of our current key factors played in that NCAA game last year, so they know what it's like."
Nichols falls to 13-8 on the year and will await an anticipated bid to the ECAC New England tournament.