After three years of waiting, the Northeast Conference Women’s Championship trophy is back home.
St. Francis dominated its postseason nemesis Long Island-Brooklyn in every major statistical category, but had to buckle down to earn a 1-0 win on Sunday at the Stokes Soccerplex.
The Red Flash held the edge in shots (16-2), shots on goal
(8-2) and corner kicks (6-2), but the difference was senior forward Tesa McKibben’s game-winner in the 71st minute.
McKibben took a centering pass from Barbara Maros de Carvalho, cut back, and stuck from five yards out to put SFU on top to stay.
The goal, McKibben’s 20th of the season and the 70th in her five seasons in Red & White, pushed her career points total to an NCAA-leading 180.
“LIU always organizes very well against us and that is a credit to them,” St. Francis coach Brenda van Stralen said.
“You just have to keep putting yourself in a position to score and we did that today. It doesn’t matter if you score one goal or five, you just have to keep creating opportunities.
“Now its time to party.”
Thanks to a lock-down defensive effort led by seniors Alecia McNiff and Richland graduate Laura Stayrook, McKibben’s marker was all St. Francis needed to clinch its first NEC title and NCAA Women’s College Cup berth since 2010.
Stayrook and McNiff both earned all-tournament honors after teaming up to help post the shutout.
McNiff joined Chelsea Traurig as the second NEC Tournament MVP in the history of the Red Flash program.
McKibben, Maros de Carvalho and Ellie Gavin were also named to the all-tournament team.
The Red Flash will learn their draw in the opening round of 2013 Women’s College Cup at 4:30 p.m. today.