BROOKLINE, Mass. -- Led by the CAA championship's Most Outstanding Player, Mackenzie Dowd, the Northeastern women's soccer team claimed its second straight CAA title with a 2-0 win over No. 3 seed Hofstra on Sunday at Parsons Field.
With the win, the Huskies (14-4-3) earned the CAA's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament field, which will be revealed Monday at 4:30 p.m. during the NCAA selection show. Northeastern will be making its third trip to the national tournament (2008, 2013), and second straight under the 2014 CAA Coach of the Year, Tracey Leone.
The Huskies are the first team to repeat as CAA champions since William & Mary accomplished the feat in 2000-01. Sunday's result also gave NU its 14th victory of the year, which sets a new single-season program record.
After scoring in the Huskies' 4-0 semifinal win over William & Mary on Friday, Dowd added her second goal of the championship in the 12th minute Sunday to put NU ahead for good. Sophomore Breeana Koemans played a corner kick to the back post and Dowd met the ball with a powerful header that found its way inside the right post at the 11:08 mark.
The scoreline held until the 70th minute when Northeastern capitalized on a Hofstra (13-7-1) turnover deep in its own end. Senior Lahaina Zoller played a dangerous ball into the box from the right wing that was fumbled by Hofstra keeper Friederike Mehring (five saves). Freshman Carly Wilhelm was able to knock the ball loose for a moment, before it was kicked away by a Hofstra defender. The clearing attempt failed, however, as freshman Hannah Lopiccolo pounced on the ball in the center of the box and made no mistake from 12 yards out to make it 2-0 at the 69:45 mark.
Northeastern's defense took over from there. Behind an inspiring effort from CAA All-Tournament selection Awnalisa Walker, the Huskies limited the conference's top scoring offense to just three shots on goal. Senior Bianca Calderone, the CAA Defensive Player of the Year, was also brilliant in shutting down Hofstra's high-powered scoring duo of Sam Scolarici and Leah Galton.
Senior goalkeeper Paige Burnett also played a strong game with three saves to hold Hofstra scoreless for just the fourth time this season. Burnett earned her 15th shutout of the season and helped the team earn its 16th clean-sheet, which ties for the most in the NCAA. The Placentia, California, native was beaten only once in the match, on a shot by Amber Stobbs that struck the crossbar with eight minutes left.
Northeastern also hit the bar earlier in the second half when Lopiccolo fired a Kayla Cappuzzo cross onto the woodwork from the center of the box. Both Lopiccolo and Cappuzzo were named to the CAA All-Tournament Team, just days after the duo earned All-Rookie laurels.
The Huskies are now 3-0-0 all-time in the CAA final, with wins over Hofstra in 2008 and 2014, and last year's victory over James Madison. Northeastern is the first CAA team to win both the regular season title and the tournament championship since William & Mary in 2011.
The 2014 NCAA tournament selection show will air live online at NCAA.com on Monday at 4:30 p.m. ET.