Kaija and Keck Fuel Women's Soccer 4-0 NEWMAC Quarterfinal Triumph of Wheaton

Lauren Kaija, Women's Soccer

WORCESTER -- Senior forward Lauren Kaija (Reading VT) and freshman defender Annika Keck (Oakland, CA) each netted two goals in WPI's 4-0 victory over Wheaton in a NEWMAC Women's Soccer Tournament quarterfinal contest played Tuesday afternoon. 

This win marked WPI's first postseason win since claining the conference championship in 2016, and the first postseason triumph against Wheaton in nine tries. 

The Engineers, ranked 10th in the latest United Soccer Coaches New England Top 10, move to 15-4-1 overall and advance to Thursday's semifinals where they will play the winner of tonight's match-up between second-seeded Coast Guard and seventh-seeded Babson.  Wheaton's season came to an end with a 8-6-4 mark. 

After a barrage of shots, including two crossbar teases by the Engineers, Kaija opened up the scoresheet in the 29th minute with a nice finish on a loose ball from the top of the 18-yard box. Soon after, Wheaton forward Chloe Troy (Wethersfield, CT) came close to tying the game when she broke free from the Engineers back line and had a one-on-one, but senior Mandy St. Germain (Upton, MA) came up big and kept the guests off the scoreboard. 

Kaija sent the Crimson and Gray into the locker room with a 2-0 advantage when she picked up her second goal on the night following a rebound shot by Ashleigh Matsis (Milford, NH) in the 44th minute. 

WPI remained dominant in the second half thanks to Keck, who headed in two corners for the Engineers at 60:37 and 79:14. Kecks' first goal was assisted by freshman Josie Kim (San Jose, CA), while her second aided by rookie Caitlin Bonavita (Wilbraham, MA). 

The Engineers finished the game outshooting Wheaton, 22-6, including 14-3 in shots on goal. St. Germain finished with three saves on the night over the first 81:37, while Lauren Francis (Natick, MA) worked the final 8:23.  Wheaton's Alexa Barbagallo (Bridgewater, MA) finished with 10 saves on the day, equaling a season high. 

Recap written by Christian Schneider