CHICOPEE, Mass. – Lesley University's streak of four straight New England Collegiate Conference titles came to an end this afternoon as top-seeded Elms College topped the Lynx 4-2 in the championship match today on Leary Field.
Lesley wraps up their 2016 campaign at 15-5-2 overall while Elms improves to 18-3-1 and has claimed the automatic qualifier to compete at the NCAA Division III Tournament next weekend.
Both offenses started with chances early on in the first half. The Lynx maintained possession in the Elms zone with a pair of shots before being whistled for a foul at midfield. The Lesley backline attempted to clear the loose ball following the ensuing free kick, but Elms junior Brie Voight (Springfield, Mass.) pounced on the failed clear and deposited a shot into the back of the net, staking the Blazers to a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute of play.
Five minutes later, Lesley found the equalizer as a shot off the foot of sophomore Samantha Bessey (Algonquin, Ill.) rang off the crossbar and classmate Jordan Mitchell (Sachse, Texas) tucked the rebound past Elms freshman goalkeeper Rebecca Molin (West Hartford, Conn.) to even the match at 1-1.
Less than three minutes later, Elms capitalized on a Lynx miscue, as Lesley junior goalkeeper Lilly Donovan (Newburyport, Mass.) fired a clearing attempt off one of her defenders, causing the ball to ricochet back towards the net and roll past the reach of Donovan, putting the Blazers ahead 2-1 with 26:09 remaining in the first half.
Despite holding the majority of possession and a 7-3 shot advantage over the hosts, the 2-1 score remained intact into the halftime break.
The Blazers came out of the break with energy and added to their advantage in the 48th minute as junior Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) launched a cross towards the net, landing at the feet of junior Jackie Soucia (Belchertown, Mass.), who fought through a Lynx defender and slipped a shot into the open net, extending the Blazers lead to 3-1.
Elms netted an insurance goal in the 59th minute as LaRochelle connected with Soucia again on a cross to the front of the net, giving Soucia her second tally of the day and a 4-1 lead for the Blazers. The Lynx added their final strike in the 63rd minute as junior Maddy Kelly (San Jose, Calif.) knocked in a corner kick service from junior Karlie Rubin (San Diego, Calif.).
The sides finished even in the shot column with 11 shots apiece. Molin made two saves in the win, while Donovan stopped four shots for Lesley.