Penn State Abington women's soccer team wins first NEAC title

The Penn State Abington women's soccer team captured its first North Eastern Athletic Conference tournament title on Nov. 6, besting host Lancaster Bible College in an epic match that was decided in a shootout. It is the first time an Abington team has won an NEAC conference title.

Junior midfielder Brittany Palmer connected on the fourth of five Abington shootout attempts to clinch the match and title. Freshman goalie Gabrielle Benedict was named the tournament most valuable player, recording eight saves in two games.

"It feels so great," said Abington fourth-year head coach David Castellanos, "to see how far we've come as a program -- from not being able to win a thing to here. It's unreal."

Abington took a 1-0 lead in the second half when Alyssa Kaye scored. Lancaster Bible, which hadn't allowed a goal for a span of 459 minutes and 24 seconds, came roaring back to take a 2-1 lead with goals from Monica Horning and Whitney Heyse. Soon after, Abington junior and captain Brittany Middleton scored to tie the match at 2-2.

The game ended in a shootout after two scoreless sudden-death overtime periods. Lancaster Bible had not lost at home since Sept. 1, 2010.

Abington is now 17-1 and has won 13 straight matches. Abington is its final year of NCAA Division III provisional status, and the women’s soccer team is hoping to receive a bid to the Eastern College Athletic Conference championships. Once full Division III membership is attained, Abington teams could advance to the NCAA National Championships by winning this tournament.

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