Cambridge, Mass-- Lesley Women's soccer finished the NECC regular season undefeated with an 8-0 record, earning the top spot in the NECC Women's Soccer Championship Tournament.
The Lynx defense led by senior goaltender Lilly Donovan, senior defender Samantha Turnbull, junior defender Rachel Buckley, and sophomore defender Melanie Mathewson have accounted for 730 consecutive shut out minuntues, and have allowed only two goals in their eight NECC games this season. The leauge leading offense with 39 team goals in eight games, is led by senior Karlie Rubin and junior Jordan Mitchell with six goals a piece and combinded ten assists. The Lynx earned a first round bye, and host Becker College in the semi finals Wednesday November 1st at 8pm.
Reigning champion Elms college earned the NO. 2 seed by virtue of a tie breaker with Southern Vermont College. Finishing the season at 6-1-1, Elms is led by last seasons NECC Player of the Year, Brie Voight. Elms also earned a first round bye and host Southern Vermont College in the semi finals Wednesday November 1st at 4pm.
Tuesday October 31st Lesley Athletics Sports Information held a brief press conference to get insight on the Lesley Women's Soccer team's approach to the NECC championship tournament. Full interview transcirbed below along with the video:
"We are here with the Lesley Women's Soccer Head Coach Paul Vasconcelos, and senior captains Karlie Rubin and Samantha Turnbull, and junior captain Samantha Bessey. Congratulations on a great season, undefeated in NECC regular season play and the number 1 seed heading into the Conference Tournament."
Q: Coach, Are there any specific moments during the season that stand out as turning points for the team, confirming that you were on the right track to achieve your goals? If so can you talk a little bit about these moments?
A (Vasconcelos): We play what we like to think is a pretty competitive out of conference schedule. We play some really great teams from around the region and we are fortunate to be in the location that we are so we can play these teams. Our game against Tufts I would say was a big turning point for us. To be able to get a big win on the road against a quality team got our confidence up and the girls started to believe in themselves a little more. Not that they didn't prior, but we had some tough losses agaist MIT and Brandeis. The Tufts game was a definite turning point in letting everyone on the team and around the program know that we are a ligit team this year.
Q: You were the NECC Runners up last season, and champions the previous 4 seasons. Your senior class knows the championship stage very well, what does your team need to focus on and do as you approach playoffs?
A(Vasconcelos): The other day we spoke about how at this point in the season if lose a game it's your last game. There's no second takes, we don't get a second chance, you lose and we're done so it's a very cold and abbupt end to the season. No matter how much success you've had in season, when it comes to playoffs it's very in the moment... it's what you do that day. Soccer is unique in the fact that we could be the better team not only on paper but also on the field and still not get the result we are looking for that day. Our juniors and seniors understand the urgency and how serious the coaching staff has been leading up to the semi final match against Becker. Becker is obviously a really good team or else they wouldn't be here, but if we play well on that day and play tough and with urgency we feel confident.
Q: Last question coach, can you talk about the importance of team leadership and how that has played a role in your team's overall success this year?
A(Vasconcelos): I'll be honest, I was never a big leadership guy I just thought that talent would take of everything. In the last two years or so I've started to really buy into senor leadership or upperclassmen leadership, I think juniors have a voice in a program too. Players look up to who's been there for three or four years and if they see that the juniors and seniors believe in themselves they too step up their game and want to be a part of the reasons we are successful. These three captains have done a wonderful job this year, the rest of our senior class has been awesome and our junior class has been jsut as great. It a really big part of our success this year.
Q: Karlie, talk a little bit about your team dynamics or overall team chemistry? How do you think that has influenced your team's success this far?
A(Rubin): We have a really unique group of girls this year, we have 30 girls which is the largest in program history and having those 30 girls we really get to back eachother up and keep each other pumped up on the field. Whenever there is a substitution the game never drops, and we can easily put other people in. Our bench wins our game, exaclty what Coach has been saying all four years I've been here. Our bench has been a really crucial part in winning big games like Tufts. One of our alums recently said to us that we just need to play with passion and I think that has been a core concept that all 30 girls stuck with and has been a key part of our success this year.
Q: Great thank you. Samantha Turnbull, you are undefeated in NECC regular season play and the number 1 seed in the championship tournament. Describe this next phase of your season and what your expectations are.
A(Turnbull): Our next phase starts tomorrow night in the semi final game with our focus being on Becker. Becker is a good team we just played them last week, so hopefully we can come out and win that game and move on to the championship. Our main expectation is that girls play with passion and the heart we've all been playing with all season and that we ask everyone to work. Like coach mentioned it can be a very abrupt ending, and as upperclassmen we've got to experience that feeling and it is a very cold feeling at the end of it and you don't get to get that chance back.
Q: Great, and you won the championship your freshmen and sophomore years and were runners up last year, what is the message you are sharing to your teammates from your past experiences of getting to the championship match?
A(Turnbull): Just playing for eachother and playing for a family. At the core of Lesley Soccer we've always tried to focus on being a family. There's nothing better than winning the championship game and looking at the 29 girls around you and sharing the excitement with each and every one of them. That's a very important message that we are focusing on especially as we get into the end and with our ranking and possible NCAA's tournament appearance, that message will really help carry us through.
Q: Now, junior Sam Bessey, what advice would you give your teammates who are experiencing this for the first time?
A(Bessey): Fortunately enough for me I got to experience a championship my freshmen year. The main thing for us is to go out and play with passion and play for everyone on your team. To be able to hold a cup at the end of this is one of the best feelings in the world. My freshmen year we had great senior leadership and they were the ones driving us to that. This year we have the same kind of leadership between the seniors and juniors, and we are pushing everyone to work harder and to play the best that we can. Whether you are on the bench or on the field everyone's on the same page. This year being on the same page and playing with passion and continuing to push eachother will lead us to our successes this year.
Q: Awesome, thank you very much guys, we appreciate it.
A(all): Thank you.
Q: Good luck tomorrow night, go lynx!
A(all): Thank you.