AUBURN — Central Maine Community College beat Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 5-4 on Sunday to win the first Yankee Small College Conference women’s soccer championship in school history.

Sophomore forward Natalie Tracy scored all five goals for the Mustangs (11-4-1, 8-1 YSCC), extending her program single-season scoring record to 22 goals. None of her goals Sunday were bigger than the fifth, which broke a tie with less than four minutes remaining in the match.

“(Winning) doesn’t feel real, it’s crazy,” Tracy said. “It’s awesome, (and) for me to be experiencing this with all my teammates and family and coaches, it feels great.”

Tracy is among the top goal scorers in the YSCC, along with Panthers forward Julia Roemer, who scored four times Sunday and rallied Albany back from a three-goal deficit before Tracy’s game-winner.

The Mustangs took control early, scoring three quick goals in the first five minutes.

On the first, Tracy took a long pass from Emily Dillman, beat two defenders and kicked the ball past Panthers goalie Mykala Brodinski. About a minute later, Mya Sirois moved the ball downfield quickly and set up Tracy’s second goal.


Tracy’s third goal came on a breakaway after the kickoff.

“Really, it’s just (thanks) to my teammates setting me up and running the space,” Tracy said.

Down 3-0 in just five minutes, the Panthers quickly recovered with a long shot by Roemer that Knowles tipped but wasn’t able to get a solid hand on.

“(Romer’s) been a top scorer in the whole USCAA for her whole career, so there was nothing different this season,” Albany coach Jonathan Woodrow said. “She’s been a big contributor and one of our captains, so it’s going to be very difficult to replace her next year.”

The Panthers and Mustangs took several more shots, but none of them on target, which might have been due to the strong winds during Sunday’s game.

Tracy found the back of the net one more time in the first half, her shot trickling in off another assist by Dillman and again getting tipped by Brodinski, and the teams went into halftime with CMCC leading 4-1.


“We go into every half thinking it’s 0-0, so just thinking in our heads, knowing that the game could go either way,” Tracy said.

The Panthers readjusted at halftime, and Roemer scored two quick goals, with 33:12 and then 31:35 left in the second half, bringing the score to 4-3. The first of the pair was a quick shot off a corner kick by Ka’ena Kehano, and the second off a rebound after a save by Knowles bounced off her hands and straight to Roemer’s feet.

“The (halftime) change was just the mindset, anytime we’re down going into the half, we always just try and break it down into very consumable parts,” Woodrow said. “Our strategy was try and get one goal each 10 minutes of the 45(-minute half) and try to come ahead 5-4.”

The score remained 4-3 for most of the second half, despite a lot of action on both sides of the field. Both teams sailed shots over the top of the goal, and Brodinski and Knowles made several key saves for their respective teams. Knowles said while the one-point difference increased the pressure in goal, she kept herself levelheaded.

CMCC coach Rob Rodriguez was confident in Knowles and the Mustangs defense.

“Defensively, we’ve been really good all year shutting down some top players, (and) defense just doesn’t get enough credit — Knowles and our back four — they’re solid,” Rodriguez said. “Our success doesn’t happen without them.”


Roemer found the back of the net for her fourth and final goal to tie the match with 4:49 to play.

Tensions were high for the Mustangs until Tracy fired back and scored with just 3:42 remaining in the game.

“When we didn’t score early in the second half, we knew that this was potentially going to be tight,” Rodriguez said. “We knew they were probably going to come back, and we kind of figured that, so we had to protect against that as best we could.”

The Mustangs were able to hold the Panthers off from scoring again, securing their first YSCC championship win in program history.

“We let them back in a little more than I would have liked, so that’s always something, for sure,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to work on (that) in the next couple of weeks, heading for nationals, because we’ve got to learn how to protect the lead a little bit better than we’ve been doing.”

After the game, CMCC Athletic Director Dave Gonyea presented Roemer with the offensive player of the game award, Knowles (18 saves) with the defensive player of the game award and Tracy with the MVP of the game award.

The six-team field for the USCAA Division II tournament in Pittsburgh will be announced Wednesday. Pool play begins Nov. 17.

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