LEICESTER, Mass. – The Becker Hawks claimed the fourth seed in the New England Collegiate Conference Postseason, as announced late last night by the conference office, finishing the 2019 season with a 5-2 record in the NECC.
The fourth-seeded Hawks, who finished 11-7-2 overall, are set to host their first playoff game since 2017, welcoming the Eastern Nazarene Lions to Alumni Field on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 4:30 p.m.
The Hawks offense, led by senior Kyra Teixeira (Old Lyme, Conn.) saw little drop off in production as the program averaged over two goals per game for the fifth consecutive season.
Teixeira had a career-season in her final year in the Hawks program, finishing with an NECC-leading 18 goals and 43 points in all competitions. Her seven assists over the entire season we're tied for most in the NECC along with sophomore teammate Kristen Beidleman (Holliston, Mass.).
Beidleman, who finished third on the Hawks with 15 points, is one of the key cogs in the Becker midfield, along with the offensively minded junior Shannon Kelley (Bellingham, Mass.), who finished the season with 16 points and sophomore Alana Garofalo (Berlin, Conn.), who presence in the defensive midfield of the Hawks creates mismatches for many opponents.
Another major story for the Hawks is the results they have earned over the last six weeks, going 8-2-1 in their final 11 fixtures of the year.
The defensive sophomore trio of Diana Whittier (Sutton, Mass.), Mariposa Nash-Gibney (Burlington, Vt.), and Rebecca Beringer (Waterville, Maine) have played a vital role in holding opponents to four goals in those 11 games.
The Hawks last line of defense for much of the season has been freshman goalie Olivia Sherwood (Southington, Conn.). Sherwood impressed in her first season with the Hawks, breaking freshman records that include four straight shutout victories and a shutout streak that lasted 490 minutes over nearly five games while going 7-6-2 with 17 starts in her freshman year.
The backline and goalkeeping, also helped by sophomore goalie Lyndsey Cobb-Wilkins (Elmira, N.Y.) and defensive role players like junior Alyson Eldridge (Chesterfield, N.H.) and freshman Shannon O'Toole (Hamilton, Mass.), have a goals against average of 0.35 in a total 1,017 minutes in the last 11 matches by allowing just those four goals to opponents in all competitions.
As for the Lions, a strength of schedule tiebreaker and conference wins over Mitchell and Bay Path move them to the fifth seed, as they come to Alumni Field at 2-5 in the NECC and 3-11-1 overall.
Junior midfielder Diamond Best (Danvers, Mass.) leads Eastern Nazarene with five goals and 10 points this season. Junior teammates Sam Bernardi (Longmeadow, Mass.) and Victoria Hern (Salem, N.H.) have each chipped in with three goals for the Lions.
Expect Lions senior goalie Griselda Minchaca (Whittier, Calif.) in goal for Eastern Nazarene. Minchaca claimed the wins over Mitchell and Bay Path and has allowed three goals in her last three matches for the Lions.
In the regular season match at Eastern Nazarene, the Hawks defeated the Lions 3-0, near the beginning of the impressive 11-game finishing run. Goals by Nash-Gibney, Teixeira, and junior Chelsea Sedar (Bridgewater, Mass.) made the difference in the Sept. 30 win at Veteran's Memorial Stadium.
Lesley University and Elms College grabbed the top-two seeds in the postseason, earning the bye into the semifinals, starting Wednesday, Nov. 6.
New England College clinched the third seed and will host the Bay Path Wildcats on Saturday, Nov. 2. Kickoff time has yet to be announced.
Saturday's winner between Becker and Eastern Nazarene has a date with the number one seeded Lesley Lynx in the semifinals while the victor between New England College and Bay Path travels to the second-seeded Elms Blazers for their semifinal date.
Saturday, November 2 - First Round
GAME 1: No. 6 Bay Path University at No. 3 New England College - TBA
GAME 2: No. 5 Eastern Nazarene College at No. 4 Becker College- 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 6 - Semifinals
GAME 3: Winner of Game 2 at No. 1 Lesley University- TBA
GAME 4 Winner of Game 1 at No. 2 Elms College- TBA
Saturday, November 9 - Finals (Hosted by Highest Remaining Seed)
GAME 5: Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4- TBA