Nashua, N.H. – It was over and out – on top – for the Daniel Webster men's soccer program Sunday.
Sparked a tenacious team defense and the game's lone goal from Kevin Herrera with 23:56 remaining, the top-seeded Eagles held off second-seeded Regis to capture their third straight, fifth overall, and ultimately last ever conference tournament championship before more than 250 raucous, chilly Eagle Field patrons.
The title, DWC's third straight and fifth overall in nine years of the NECC's existence, puts an exclamation point on a dynasty that included tournament trophies in 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, and finally 2016. The College will cease operations at the conclusion of the academic year.
The Eagles, who improved to 13-5-3, await an opponent, time and location for their fourth NCAA tournament appearance on Monday afternoon.
Regis, which was also making a final appearance of sorts, finished its season 10-8-2. The Pride head for new pastures next season in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.
Herrera, named tournament MVP after scoring three goals in two tourney contests, put together the game-winner off a diagonal feed from Aaron Esparza, who sent a diagonal feed from the right side that found a streaking Herrera racing up the middle. Herrera moved left, remained onside, broke free of the defense for two steps, and roped a wicked 25-yarder back to the right top corner setting off a wild celebration both on the field and off.
DWC's team defense, led by three senior captains in Michael Ottman, Chasen Congreves, and midfielder Eusebio Marote along with fellow elder statesman Alex Carvajal, were stalwarts all afternoon, limiting the dangerous Pride to six shots total and only three on goal. Ottman, Congreves and Marote picked up all-tourney honors.
Likewise, Eagle keeper Cooper Hall recorded his eighth shutout of the season including his biggest of the day just 15 minutes on Regis's Don Gomez, who found a seem at the top of the box and ripped a one-timer forcing Hall into a sprawling save to the left that just barley kept the contest scoreless.
In all, DWC finished with 17 shots (8 on goal) and added four corners to two for Regis.
Regis goalkeeper and all-tournament selection Manny Santiago posted seven saves in his final collegiate outing.
2016 NECC Men's Soccer Championship Tournament
Courtesy of Daniel Webster Athletics Communications.