Women's conference champions crowned on Sunday

[COLLEGE ROUNDUP] The women's regular season ended with conference tournament championships across the country. Illinois State won its fourth straight Missouri Valley title, while five teams -- Buffalo, Houston Baptist, Prairie View A&M, Rider and SIU-Edwardsville -- captured their first tournament titles and NCAA Tournament bids. For a look at Sunday's finals.

Three conferences -- Ivy League (Harvard), Pac-12 (UCLA) and WCC (BYU) -- don't hold tournaments and give their automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament to their regular-season champion.

ACC (Report).

AMERICAN. Connecticut won its first American Athletic Conference championship, defeating USF, 3-2, on penalty kicks after a scoreless draw in Tampa. The Huskies clinched their 29th appearance in the NCAA Women's Tournament.

ATLANTIC-SUN. Two first-half goals from the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Tabby Tindell, guided FGCU to a 3-1 victory against Kennesaw State in the A-Sun final. Tindell, who collected MVP honors with three goals and an assist in the tournament, extended her A-Sun single-season record with her 11th game-winning goal, tops in the nation in 2014.
With the win, FGCU extended its program record for wins as the Eagles sit at 17-3-0 on the year. They've won their last 13 games.

ATLANTIC-10. Megan Herr tallied the game-winner in the 72nd minute on an assist from Erin O'Malley to complete a second-half comeback as Dayton edged top-seed La Salle, 2-1, in the Atlantic-10 championship final.

BIG EAST (Report).

BIG SOUTH. High Point clinched its fifth Big South championship on penalty kicks, advancing past Liberty, 5-4, after tying with the Flames, 2-2. Alex Persiani made two saves to give the Panthers the title. Fellow freshman Bri Jean-Charles scored in the 87th minute for High Point to send the game to overtime.

BIG SKY. Northern Arizona with the Big Sky championship for the first time since 2009 with a 2-1 win over Idaho State. The No. 3 seeded Lumberjacks got goals from Emily Wadell and Haley Wingender.

BIG TEN. Wisconsin won its third Big Ten Tournament championship after defeating Iowa, 1-0, in overtime at Purdue’s Boilermaker Soccer Complex. Kinley McNicoll scored the game-winning goal just over three minutes into double overtime. Badger goalkeeper Genevieve Richard recorded her Big Ten-leading 15th shutout of the season. With 18 wins, the Badgers now own the record for the most wins in a season in program history.
 
BIG 12. West Virginia made it back-to-back Big 12 titles with a 1-0 win over Oklahoma. The Mountaineers, who have not lost since Aug. 28, took the lead on senior Kate Schwindel's goal in the 13th minute, and junior goalkeeper Hannah Steadman held off the Sooners with six saves to earn her 10th shutout of the year.

BIG WEST. Connie Caliz and Christina Burkenroad each scored in the first 10 minutes as Cal State Fullerton clinched its second straight Big West Women's Tournament title with a 2-1 victory over Long Beach State. The win was the seventh straight for the Titans, who will also carry a 10-match unbeaten streak to the NCAA Tournament. Theyare the first team since 2007 to win both the Big West regular-season championship and the tournament title.

CAA. Top-seeded Northeastern became the first team to win back-to-back CAA women’s championships since 2001 after defeating No. 3 Hofstra, 2-0. The Huskies (14-4-3), who set a new program record for victories in a season, got goals from sophomore defender Mackenzie Dowd, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Performer, and CAA Rookie of the Year Hannah Lopiccolo. The Huskies’ defense recorded an NCAA-best 16th shutout of the season.
 
CONFERENCE USA. No. 2  Rice knocked off regular-season champion North Texas, 2-0, to win the Conference USA championship and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Midfielder Gabriela Iribarne scored both goals, and C-USA Midfielder of the Year Quinny Truong assisted on both goals.

MAAC. No. 4 seed Rider defeated the No. 2 seed Fairfield, 5-4, on penalty kicks to claim the MAAC championship at Monmouth after the match ended 1-1. With the victory, Rider will be headed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Rider got on the board first in the 63rd minute on a goal by Hollie Kelsh, but Fairfield scored the equalizer in the 83rd minute when Karolyn Collins scored on a free kick from 40 yards.

NCAA Tournament Newbies:
Buffalo
Houston Baptist
Prairie View A&M
Rider
SIU Edwardsville

MID-AMERICAN. Jackie Hall's goal in the 82nd minute gave Buffalo the  Mid-American Tournament championship and the Bulls' first trip to the NCAA Tournament after downing sixth-seeded Western Michigan, 1-0, in the final at UB Stadium. Freshman Laura Dougall earned her program-record 13th shutout of the season. The Bulls extended their program-record unbeaten streak to 14 matches.

MISSOURI VALLEY. Host Illinois State won its fourth straight Missouri Valley title after defeating Evansville, 2-1, at Adelaide Street Field. Senior Rachel Tejada was the star, burying her 18th of the season and fifth of the MVC Tournament for the game's first goal in the 53rd minute and setting up Hannah Leinert for the second goal.

NORTHEAST. Central Connecticut claimed its eighth Northeast Conference Tournament championship with a 2-0 win over Fairleigh Dickinson. NEC Tournament MVP Charlie Branch put Central Connecticut ahead in the 35th minute, and Cailynn Harding scored her second goal of the season to give the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead. They are 8-1 in NEC title games, but their last tournament crown came in 2008.

OHIO VALLEY. SIU-Edwardsville defeated Jacksonville State, 3-2, in overtime to win its first OVC championship. Jacksonville State's Kelsey Bright got the Gamecocks on the board in the 14th minute and added another goal in the second half to give them the 2-0 lead. But SIUE's Kayla Delgado and Michelle Auer scored a pair of goals with just over five minutes left in regulation, and Delgado added her second goal just over four minutes into the overtime to give the Cougars the title.

PATRIOT. Clare Pleuler and Ana Cuffia, who each scored a goal in the 2-0 win over Navy in Friday semifinals, did the honors again on Sunday with first-half goals to lead Boston University past Colgate, 2-1, in the Patriot League final. Jenna Fisher assisted on both goals for the Terriers, who have not lost this season when they scored first.

SEC (Report).

SOUTHERN. No. 3 seed Mercer exacted revenge for its lone regular-season conference loss with a 2-1 win over No. 1 seed Samford in the Southern Conference final at Western Carolina’s Catamount Athletic Complex. The game was decided on an own goal off Samford defender Alissa Hansen’s hip in the 88th minute. The own goal was the second to benefit Mercer in as many matches in the tournament. Tess Patton put Mercer ahead from the penalty spot in the 48th minute but Samford answered on a penalty kick of its own that Jermaine Seoposenwe drilled into the lower left corner in the 59th minute.

SOUTHLAND. No. 3 seed Houston Baptist upset regular-season champion Stephen F. Austin, 2-0, in the Southland final at Lamar Soccer Complex. Freshman Ellee Hall scored an assist from Blake Martin to give the Huskies an early lead and added the second goal for the Huskies on an assist from Natalie Hager in the 52nd minute. She finished the tournament with three goals and one assist in three games. Houston Baptist claimed its first tournament title in school history after joining the Southland Conference in 2013.

SUMMIT. No. 1 South Dakota State captured the Summit League championship on penalty kicks after its match with Denver ended, 1-1. The Jackrabbits edged the Pioneers by a 5-4 margin in penalty kicks. South Dakota State was trailing when Nicole Hatcher tied the match with just 31 seconds remaining to send it to overtime. Brooke Boothe scored the lone Pioneer goal on a header off a corner kick from Stella Norman in the 22nd minute.

SUN BELT. South Alabama got an early goal from Sun Belt Offensive Player and Freshman of the Year Charde Hannah and hung on to defeat Troy, 1-0, and capture its second consecutive Sun Belt Tournament title.

SWAC. Howard captured the SWAC Tournament championship in its first season in the conference with a 2-1 victory over Prairie View A&M. The Lady Bison rallied from a goal down on goals by Dytria Ruddy and Nikanya Clark, who finished as the tournament's MVP with a total of three goals. It qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

WAC. Seattle repeated as WAC champion with a 5-0 win over UMKC.  Stephanie Verdoia set a school record with her 21st goal of the season. Julia Moravec scored two goals, including the game-winner.

Saturday ...

Conference champions were crowned on Saturday in the Mountain West (San Diego State 1-0 over Wyoming on Katie Perry's golden goal), America East (New Hampshire 2-1 over Hartford) and Horizon (Valparaiso 1-0 over Detroit).
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