CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Lesley University junior forward Alexis Giusti (Meridian, Calif.) connected 3:25 into the second overtime period to give the Lynx a 1-0 overtime victory over second-seeded Elms College in tonight’s New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Women’s Soccer Championship. Giusti fired a shot from 25 yards out that found the top-right corner of the goal, giving the top-seeded Lynx their second consecutive NECC title.
The Lynx nearly got on the board in the second minute of action when sophomore midfielder and NECC Tournament MVP Hayley Wirth (Escondido, Calif.) launched a right-footed shot from twelve yards out, but the screamer was blocked by an Elms defender on the goal line.
Elms’ best opportunity in the opening half was in the 34th minute when freshman Kylen O’Hearn (Somers, Conn.) sent a sailing ball from 40 yards towards the Lesley net, but the shot just trickled over the crossbar.
After the break, the Lynx came out firing, sending five shots at the Elms goal in the first 12 minutes of action forcing Blazers goalkeeper Alexa Rinaudo (Bellmore, N.Y.) to make two stops.
Lesley continued pressing and had two great scoring opportunities in the 60th minute. Juniors Marysol Flores (Pico Rivera, Calif.) and Jasmine Sanchez (Chino, Calif.) started the threat with a beautiful touch-and-go play before Sanchez found midfielder Hannah Landerholm (Edmonds, Wash.) on a cross to the middle of the field. Landerholm took a touch and fired a shot that went just wide of the left side post. Just moments later after an Elms corner kick one minute later, Lesley sprinted out to a two-on-one on the counter attack, but Rinaudo was there to intercept the cross to a streaking Flores, keeping the game scoreless.
The Blazers threatened in the 82nd minute after a foul call on Lesley. Senior defender Allyson Witaszek (Feeding Hills, Mass.) sent a free kick from 30 yards towards the top left corner of the goal, but Lynx keeper Jackie Berard (Coventry, R.I.) jumped out to corral the ball for one of her three saves on the night.
In the first overtime, the Blazers nearly ended things in the 98th minute when sophomore Melissa Welch (Westfield, Mass.) chipped a ball over a charging Berard, but the ball sailed wide of the far post.
Lesley responded with perhaps the best scoring chancing of the night. With just two seconds remaining in the period, Giusti raced behind the Blazers back line and drove a left-footed screamer only to be blocked by a fantastic diving effort from Rinaudo.
Giusti made the most of her next shot attempt, giving the Lynx the game-winner in the 104th minute of action in the second overtime.
Lesley outshot Elms 21-6 on the night while holding a 5-2 advantage on corner kicks.
Rinaudo was outstanding in between the pipes for the Blazers, making four stops in the effort. Elms finishes their season with an 11-9-1 overall record.
Lesley, who improves to 17-1-1, returns to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season and second time in program history. The Lynx will wait to hear their opponent for the first round of the NCAA Tournament on the live NCAA Selection Show which airs on Monday, November 11th at 1:30p.
2013 New England Collegiate Conference All-Tournament Team
|Rachel Gagnon||So.||Regis College|
|Jasmin Vivar||Jr.||Regis College|
|Keelin Dougherty||Sr.||Bay Path College|
|Alma Rizvani||Fr.||Bay Path College|
|Allyson Witaszek||Sr.||Elms College|
|Michelle Rossignol||So.||Elms College|
|Melissa Welch||So.||Elms College|
|Marysol Flores||Jr.||Lesley University|
|Casey Decareau||Sr.||Lesley University|
|Sarah Apgar||Sr.||Lesley University|
|Hayley Wirth||So.||Lesley University|
NECC Tournament MVP: Hayley Wirth, Lesley University