BENNINGTON, Vt. – Lesley University junior Anthony Vitta (Oceanside, N.Y.) netted the game-tying and game-winning goal as the Lynx came back from a 1-0 deficit to down host Southern Vermont College in a double-overtime regular season finale thriller.
As Southern Vermont brought the ball up field, a pass was picked off to give the Lynx a quick transition opportunity. Junior Angel Ruiz (Phoenix, Ariz.) played a through ball up the field to Vitta, and the junior slipped it past the Mountaineer keeper before celebrating in the arms of his teammates. The Lynx, who are now 4-0-1 in their last five matches, wrap up their regular season at 6-10-2 overall and 5-2-1 in the New England Collegiate Conference.
It was Vitta who erased a 1-0 deficit in the second half and put the Lynx on the board. Ruiz played a great ball over the top of the SVC defense from near the center circle, sending it down to towards the right side of the box. Vitta met it and was able to get a shot off before being taken out by a sliding Jimenez, sending the ball into the back of the cage for the equalizer.
An SVC first half goal at the 23:15 mark gave the hosts a 1-0 lead that they carried through halftime. SVC's score came off the foot of freshman Daniel Rangel (San Antonio, Texas), that goal being assisted by sophomore captain Nikolas Joseph (Coventry, Conn.). The Mountaineers worked the ball deep into the Lesley end of the field, and a crossing pass from the left side ended up at Joseph's feet. He played a ball to the right where Rangel was able to meet it, slotting a shot past goalie James Webb (San Francisco, Calif.) on a tough angle for his fourth goal of the year.
The Lynx had a great chance to even things with just under three minutes to play. They brought the ball in from the left side and worked it through the box to the right, giving senior captain Harrison Sidell (Newhall, Calif.) a one-on-one chance with Jimenez. The Southern Vermont keeper was quick to come off his line, however, and smothered the chance to help send the game to halftime with the hosts still up 1-0.
Jimenez was tested a few times in the opening 12 minutes of the second period, but he was able to turn away each Lesley take to keep his team on top. As play started to get heated between the squads and cautions started to get issued, LU took advantage of an offensive push to tie the score with Vitta' first of the match.
There was only one shot on frame through the final 23:41 of regulation, that being a strong header from SVC freshman Devin Furphy (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) on a crossing pass that was denied by Webb and the 1-1 tally carried into overtime.
Jimenez turned away two Lesley shots in the first overtime period as the Lynx applied pressure while going for the win. The Lynx continued to take their chances in the second extra session, but none of their first four takes landed on frame. SVC came inches away from getting the winning score to go as a corner kick taken by Joseph resulted in a quick scrum in the middle of the goal area, but a Mountaineer shot was blocked by traffic, allowing the game to resume.
Vitta would finally put an end to the match with just 1:18 left on the clock with his third tally of the season.
Mountaineer freshman goaltender Chris Jimenez (Newark, N.J.) made eight saves in the loss (4-10-3) while Lesley junior counterpart James Webb (San Francisco, Calif.) had three of his own in the victory (6-8-2).
Southern Vermont finishes the season at 4-10-3 overall and 1-4-3 in league play. Lesley heads into the postseason tournament with a mark of 6-10-2, finishing the Conference schedule at 5-2-1 to take the three seed in the NECC playoffs.
Release courtesy Southern Vermont College Sports Information