CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For the third time in as many years, the top-seeded Lesley University women's soccer team has been crowned New England Collegiate Conference Champions following a 3-0 win over second-seeded Elms College this afternoon at Edward Field. With the win, the Lynx move to 18-3-0 on the season and have earned the conference automatic bid to the NCAA Championship for the third straight season. The Blazers finish their season at 11-9-1 and awaits to hear on a possible postseason bid early next week.
After a scoreless first half, the Lynx exploded for three goals in a span of 3:11 early on in the second. Veronica Halen (San Diego, Calif.) started the scoring for the Lynx as she buried a ball in a scrum on the heels of a Lesley corner kick. Sophomore Lindsey Bos (Valencia, Calif.), who was named NECC Tournament MVP, sent a looping cross into the box where senior Hannah Landerholm (Edmonds, Wash.) got her foot on it before Halen drilled it into the back of the net to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Senior Jasmine Sanchez (Chino, Calif.) quickly gave the Lynx a 2-0 edge as she found the back of the net 2:18 later. Bos sent a beautiful volley from midfield to a streaking Sanchez on the right side of the box. The midfielder settled the ball and took a touch before sending a shot past the diving Alexa Rinaudo (Bellmore, N.Y.) for her seventh tally of the season.
Just 53-seconds later, Junior Samantha Rapant (Pittsfield, Mass.) gave the Lynx their third goal of the afternoon on a nearly identical play as Sanchez's goal. Once again it was Bos who started the attack with a perfect volley to Rapant on the far right side of the box. Rapant settled the ball with an Elms defender on her back and tucked a shot inside the far post to give the Lynx the 3-0 advantage.
Bos was credited with assists on all five goals the Lynx scored in their two NECC Tournament matches.
Elms had the first chance of the opening half with a free kick from 25 yards out on the right side of the box, but junior Michelle Rossignol's (Manchester, Conn.) cross sailed through the Lynx box to keep the match scoreless.
Lesley answered with a pair of chances in the 21st minute. Junior Hayley Wirth (Escondido, Calif.) raced to a loose ball at the top of the Elms box and unleashed a curling left-footed blast, but Rinaudo sprawled to her left to make a beautiful diving save, knocking the ball out of bounds. Rinaudo made her second stop of the afternoon on the ensuing corner kick when she corralled another Wirth attempt.
Just six minutes later, the Lynx nearly put one on the board as junior Isabella Vidana (San Marcos, Calif.) got her head on a cross from Bos, but her bid bounced off the cross bar before an Elms defender cleared the threat.
With nine minutes to go in the first, Rossignol had another chance off a free kick from the left side of the field. The junior drove a blast towards the upper-right corner of the cage, but Lynx keeper Jackie Berard (Coventry, R.I.) made a leaping save to tip the ball over the cross bar. The Lesley backline cleared the subsequent corner kick and the teams rolled into halftime scoreless.
Lesley outshot Elms by a 22-2 margin and held a 6-2 edge in corner kick opportunities. The match was filled with physicality as the teams combined for 25 fouls and three cautions.
Rinaudo was excellent in between the pipes for the Blazers as she was credited with eight stops in the loss. Berard improved to 14-2-0 on the season and wrapped up her seventh shutout of the season in the win.
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 at 1:00p.
2014 NECC All-Tournament Team
Adina Joseph, Regis College
Jasmin Vivar, Regis College
Michelle Flores, Southern Vermont College
Lixsa Arlet Sandoval, Southern Vermont College
Kylen O'Hearn, Elms College
Gina DiGiovanni, Elms College
Michelle Rossignol, Elms College
Alexa Rinaudo, Elms College
Hannah Landerholm, Lesley University
Hayley Wirth, Lesley University
Jasmine Sanchez, Lesley University
Lindsey Bos, Lesley University
2014 NECC Tournament MVP: Lindsey Bos, Lesley University