CHICOPEE, Mass. - The Elms College field hockey squad dropped a heartbreaker to visiting Regis College, falling to the Pride, 1-0, on penalty strokes in the New England Collegiate Conference championship game at Leary Field Saturday afternoon.
The conference title game proved to be a battle of goalkeepers as Elms junior Samantha Alvino (Holtsville, N.Y.) and Regis junior Raegan Heck (Phillipston, Mass.) were both brilliant in between the pipes. Heck made a key save in the final minutes of the first half on a drive from Elms senior forward Kayla Narey (South Hadley, Mass.).
After two periods of scoreless play, the Pride picked up the offensive pressure in the extra periods, putting five shots on goal. In the first overtime, Alvino made three saves, including back-to-back stops on point-blank attempts from Regis senior midfielder Sashae Walls (Everett, Mass.). In the 94th minute, Walls broke through the Blazers defense and ripped a shot on net, but was denied by the outstretched reach of a falling Alvino in a highlight reel stop.
The match came down to a five-shot stroke-off to determine the conference champion. Elms senior forward Meghan Goodrow (Sunderland, Mass.) converted the opening shot for the Blazers. With three shooters remaining, Regis junior forward Laurie DeMars (Maynard, Mass.) and senior forward Becka Sarson (York, Maine) scored on back-to-back attempts, while Heck denied the final three Elms shooters to secure the Pride the 2014 conference title.
Regis edged the Blazers in the shot column, 16-13, during the contest. Alvino made a game-high 10 saves, while Heck stopped seven shots en route to the tournament Most Valuable Player award.
Alvino, Narey, senior defender Ashley Reid (Enfield, Conn.), and senior defender Allie LaMonica (Salem, Mass.) were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The Blazers finished the 2014 campaign with a 6-13 overall record, while Regis improves to 6-13 on the year. The Pride earn a bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament.
2014 NECC Championship All-Tournament Team:
MVP: Raegan Heck - Regis College
Jen Ryan - Wheelock College
Kayla Narey - Elms College
Ashley Reid - Elms College
Allie LaMonica - Elms College
Samantha Alvino - Elms College
Sashae Walls - Regis College
Becka Sarson - Regis College
Sam Anderson - Regis College