Cambridge, Mass- The No. 1 seed Lesley University hosted No. 2 Elms College in the NECC Championship match at Edwards field Saturday afternoon. The Lynx, 8-0 in NECC play took the match in the regular season over the Blazers 3-2, their closet match during the conference action. The two teams proved their worth as the top seeds battling it out through two overtime periods without a goal scored. The championship ended in penalty kicks, as the Lynx netted a perfect 5-5 attempts to be crowned as the 2017 NECC Women's Soccer Championship Team.
The pressure of the championship rivalry between the squads was at a high in the first twenty minutes of play with neither team able to control possession to create any true scoring opportunities. Both teams settled in at the 24th minute mark to share possession back and forth, but it was the Blazers who held the advantage attempting five shots to the Lynx one.
The blazers struck for three corner kicks, just missing the back of the net on their second attempt. Jacqueline Soucia sent the ball to the back of the box that found the head of Brie Voight. Voight connected for what proved to be the closest opportunity of the first half, but missed just over the top cross bar.
Senior keeper Lilly Donovan (Newburyport, MA) charged out of the box to knock a couple balls out from the crowded danger zone and keep the Blazers off the scoreboard.
The second half showed similar fashion with both teams just missing on the few scoring opportunities they had. In the 58th minute Elms defense committed a foul just outside the eighteen. Junior Rachel Buckley (San Diego, Calif) chipped the free kick to the center of the box where Senior Samantha Turnbull (Holtsville,NY) was positioned. She fought her way in front of a defender to get a header on the ball, but Blazers keeper Rebecca Molin made a diving save to keep the score tied.
Donovan continued to serve the last line of defense for the Lynx, with knocking many balls away from the crowded middle. Lesley held the advantage in shots (8-5) and corners (4-0) in the second half, but just missed the mark as the match headed into overtime. The second overtime duration saw more action with 11 shots total between both teams, yet neither was able to finish.
Lesley kicked off the penalty kicks with a goal from Senior Jordan Mitchell (Sachse, TX). Mackenzie Larochelle followed up with a goal of her own to end the first round of penalty kicks at one a piece. Senior Karlie Rubin (San Diego, Calif) hit the back of the net next for Lesley, but it was Sophomore goaltender Brittley Gaan (Bellevue, Wa) who made the stop for the Lynx on the next Elms kick.
Gann made a diving save to give Lesley the 2-1 lead going into the third round. Freshman Maddy Deitrick (Burnet, TX), Junior Samantha Bessey (Algonquin, IL), and Junior Sam Ring (Thousand Oaks, Calif) all scored on their opportunities to secure the Championship Title for the Lynx.
The Lesley senior class has won the NECC Championship three out of their four years at Lesley. "Our girls worked hard all season," said head coach Paul Vasconcelos. "We're happy for our girls, we're happy for our Univeristy, we're happy for alumni, we're happy for all our student-athletes. To go to penalty kicks in the championship is a credit to how competitive Elms is."