BENNINGTON, Vt. – Southern Vermont College's women's soccer team secured a New England Collegiate Conference playoff position on Wednesday with a 5-0 win over Bay Path College at Everett Field on the campus of Southern Vermont.
It will be the second-straight year the Mountaineers will see postseason action, and the win equals the most in program history (10.) That total has been reached four previous seasons, the latest being in 1999 under the reign of head coach Scott McKenzie.
Another milestone was reached on Wednesday, and then surpassed, as junior forward Kaitlyn Forant (Hardwick, Vt.) scored four times to bring her season total to 18. That tops the previous record of 15, held by Rebecca Hopeck (1996) and Beth Sampson (1995).
Mountaineer head coach Michael Zauzig commented that, "I want to congratulate Kaitlyn and her tremendous achievement. She should be proud and happy of her accomplishments, but I still want her to be hungry for more."
Forant put the Mountaineers on the board early as she was able to beat the Wildcat defense off a pass from freshman Bridget Kelly (Lebanon, Conn.) and put the ball in the back of the net at the 11:57 mark. It was Kelly's third assist of the season.
That would prove to be all the Mountaineers needed, yet the offense did not slow down as Forant notched her second in the 31st minute for the 2-0 advantage. Junior Jocelyn Ortega (Chula Vista, Calif.) got in on the scoring when she collected the ball off a pass from junior Erin Student (Clifton Park, N.Y.) and took an outside shot which beat Bay Path keeper Marina Rhodes (Providence, R.I.).
Forant continued to display her speed and ball control as she ran on to an over-the-top pass from Student and proceeded to slip the ball past Rhodes in the final minute of the first half. Student's two assists bring her to four on the season.
The final tally came in the second stanza when Forant headed in a pin-point cross from the left side of the foot of senior captain Shawnee Webster (Hoosick, N.Y.) at the 65:00 mark; Wednesday was Webster's last regular season home match in an SVC uniform.
The Wildcats produced opportunities and were able to outshoot SVC by a 19-16 margin. Many of their shots came in the second half and at close range, yet could not cross the end line. Sophomore Nicole Crossman (Winsted, Conn.) led the team with four shots.
Freshman Katie Raymond (Bristol, Conn.) made her first collegiate appearance in goal for the Mountaineers, collecting 12 saves for the shutout. Rhodes made three saves on the day for Bay Path.
Zauzig said of making it back to the playoffs, "It was one of our goals going in to the season, and it certainly gives me a real sense of accomplishment. Now, we have to remain focused and get back to work in order to prepare for Wheelock and then carry this momentum into the postseason."
The Mountaineers (4-3-1 NECC, 10-4-2 overall) wrap up their regular season on Saturday with a 1 p.m. match at Wheelock College, while the Wildcats (2-6 NECC, 3-11-2) host Mitchell College for their season finale at 2 p.m. on Saturday.