BENNINGTON, VT – Lesley University (15-4-1) is on its way to its first NCAA Tournament after a dominating 4-0 win over No. 1 seed Southern Vermont (12-5-1) in the New England Collegiate Conference Championship, the program's first NECC title.
After tying a Lesley record with four goals in the Lynx 5-3 quarterfinals victory over Becker on Wednesday, sophomore Ali Sozeri (Istanbul, Turkey/Miller School) made league history Sunday. He became the first player with a hat trick in an NECC Championship, earning him Tournament Most Valuable Player honors after scoring a league tournament record eight goals and 16 points.
The forward scored what would be the game-winner just two minutes into the contest, added two second half goals, and midfielder Ari Sinanis (Guilford, CT/Guilford) tallied a penalty kick goal and two assists in the most one-sided win in league championship history.
In addition to Sozeri's MVP honors, named to the All-Tournament team for the Lynx were Sinanis and senior defenders Christian Domingo (Granada Hills, CA/Delphi Academy) and Ryan Rodgers (Hollis, NH/High Mowing).
Sinanis found Sozeri for a goal at 2:01 that set the tone and added a penalty kick goal at 28:55, sending Lesley into the intermission with a 2-0 lead after outshooting Southern Vermont 10-6 in the opening frame.
The second half belonged entirely to Sozeri and the Lynx. After the team missed on two of the period's first three shots, the sophomore made the Lynx third shot of the second half count, streaking down the left side for his second goal of the game at 66:46. Nine minutes later, he went down the right sideline to complete his hat trick with his NECC-leading 19th goal and 39th point, coming on Sinanis' league-best 10th assist.
Lesley goalkeeper Max Perkins (Lexington, MA/Lexington) kept the Mountaineers off the board, corralling a game-high seven saves, besting Mounties keeper Conner Anniello, who saved only five of nine Lesley shots on goal.
Below are this year's NECC All-Tournament Team selections:
MVP: Ali Sozeri
Lesley: Ari Sinanis
Lesley: Ryan Rodgers
Lesley: Christian Domingo
SVC: Greg Gilmore
SVC: Nick Haggerty
SVC: Noah Massucci
SVC: Connor Murray
Elms: Tavis Leland
Elms: Ryan Sullivan