CAMBRIDGE, MA. -- The Lesley Men's and Women's Soccer teams both earned the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Regular Season titles and clinched the top seeds in this year's Championship Tournaments. The men finished with a record of 5-1, scoring fifteen points and the women finished at 6-1 to score eighteen points. Both teams have earned a bye in the first round, and will join the action when they host the semifinals matches next Wednesday and Thursday.
The men, led by senior captains David Crutchfield, Gerry Chica, and Tiago Pacheco defeated Eastern Nazarene College 1-0 last night to break a tie atop the NECC standings and earn the regular season crown. The women's team, led by senior captains Melanie Mathewson, Hope Seasholes, and Gabby Vesona clinched their top spot and regular season title nod in an 8-0 win over Mitchell College.
Junior Jack Wadleigh scored the game winner for the men off a penalty kick to secure the No. 1 seed, his eleventh for the Lynx this season, with nine of them coming in a scorching hot six game stretch. Wadleigh's stat line tied him in second place for total goals in the NECC, and his four game-winning goals put him in a tie for first in the conference.
Crutchfield considers the season a success, just based on the improvements from last season with team dynamics and where they struggled to close out games. "We stuck together and were positive throughout, and I think we had a lot more fun than last year," Crutchfield says. "Being regular season champs is a great feeling. It just goes to show how hard we've worked to get the results that we knew we could get." Crutchfield says that while the title and home field advantage is nice, the team knows they still have to take their game to another level.
The Lynx defense anchored by Pacheco, Ben Heischuber, Max Fereira and Shane Rockenbach helped the Lynx to a 1.81 goals against average, good for second in the NECC. Senior keeper Crutchfield ranked third in the NECC with a 7.93 save percentage, while counterpart Patrick Corcoran put up a .714 percentage in seven games. Crutchfield dominated the NECC, allowing only three goals in five games for a 0.69 goals against average, having a career best 88 saves in his senior season.
"Being the number one seed immediately puts a target on our backs. Just because we beat a team in the regular season doesn't mean anything. Getting right physically and mentally before the semifinal should be the only thing on our minds. We have the talent, but we can't take anything for granted. We have to earn our spot in the final."
Head women's soccer coach, Paul Vasconcelos says "I'm very proud of our team's resilience all season long and am very happy to be the top seed, but as always it's going to be a tough tournament. We are going to play for our seniors and hope for the best."
Sophomore's Claire Hounslow and junior Alexandria Torres were the goal-scoring leaders for the Lynx with seven each. The two tied for fifth in the NECC in goals, with sophomores Chloe Kouyoumdjian and Tayla Mayberry just behind them with six goals apiece. Hounslow and Kouyoumdjian tied for the team high in points with seventeen, as Kouyoumdjian added five assists on the season.
Mathewson says that of her four years at Lesley, this has been the toughest season. "We've battled injury after injury, losing players that were key to our success," she says. Young players like freshman Alex Carruth (two goals, one game-winner) and sophomore Kayleigh Chicas (three goals, two assists) stepped in for injured players and delivered. "Despite this, it's been the most rewarding season of my four years because we have persisted through all this adversity to become regular season champs," Mathewson continues.
Sophomore defender Kerrie Larson led the team in assists with six, putting her in a tie for third place in the NECC. As a team, the Lynx led the conference in goals by a wide margin, with a total of 52 and an average of 3.02 per game. The defense was just as impressive as the offense, led by Larson, Mathewson, Seasholes, and Sophie Smurthwaite. The Lynx only allowed seventeen goals all season, an average of 0.99 per game. Senior keeper Brittley Gaan ranked second in the NECC with a 1.26 goals against average, allowing only twelve in ten games.
"Heading into playoffs, the team is excited but prepared...we are hopeful that we can extend our two-year NECC champion streak to three because nothing would be more rewarding than winning the championship after the adversity we've faced this season," Mathewson concluded.
The men's team is back in action at 8 PM on Thursday November 7th to host a semifinal match against the winner of Sunday's first round match between Elms College and Mitchell College. The women will await the result of Saturday's match between Eastern Nazarene College and Becker College, and will host the semifinal match on Wednesday November 6th at 8 PM.
For complete NECC releases on the conference tournaments, follow the links below: