No. 5 Bay Path Upsets SVC to Advance to the Semifinals with No. 1 Elms, No. 2 Lesley, & No. 3 Regis

No. 5 Bay Path Upsets SVC to Advance to the Semifinals with No. 1 Elms, No. 2 Lesley, & No. 3 Regis

Attleboro, Mass. - Fifth seeded Bay Path University upset fourth seeded Southern Vermont College 3-2 to advance to the NECC Semifinals. The Wildcats will travel to top seeded Elms College in the Semifinals on Wednesday evening.

Third seeded Regis College advances with a 5-0 win over Becker College. The Pride are set to face second seeded Lesley University in the NECC Semifinals. 

#5 Bay Path 3, #4 Southern Vermont 2

BENNINGTON, Vt. – The Bay Path University women's soccer team won its first New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) playoff game since 2013 Saturday afternoon as the fifth-seeded Wildcats topped the hosting No. 4 Southern Vermont College Mountaineers 3-2 at Everett Field.

BPU scored first in the later stages of the opening half, only to have it answered by SVC three minutes later for a 1-1 tie to be brought into the break. The Wildcats put home two goals in a six-minute stretch in the latter half of the second period, forcing Southern Vermont to play the final 12 minutes down a pair.

As the Mountaineers pushed to cut the deficit, they got the fortune of an own goal by Bay Path off a corner kick with just 1:04 left on the clock. That would be the closest SVC could get, however, as the visitors held off Southern Vermont in the final seconds to close out the victory.

The Mountaineers finish the 2016 campaign with an overall record of 8-7-3 while BPU improves to 10-6 with the win. The Wildcats will next visit top-seeded Elms College Wednesday night for a semifinal showdown.

Bay Path junior Elena Helming and senior Alma Rizvani each had a goal and an assist in the triumph while sophomore Jailinne Ruiz knocked in what proved to be the game winner.

Southern Vermont's regular-play tally came off the foot of freshman Taylor Mallett, senior Kelsey Hamister garnering the assist as the goal came off a rebound from her shot.

BPU freshman keeper Caitlyn Esposito came up with seven saves in the win (8-4) as Southern Vermont junior goalie Melissa Mascari turned away a pair of Wildcat shots in the loss (8-7-3).

The victory was Bay Path's second over the Mountaineers in just four days and the team's third straight overall.

SVC had one of the better chances by either side in the opening 35 minutes of action when a Hamister cross from the right side bounced through the box; Mountaineer freshman Taylor Jarosz got on the end of it and let a shot rip from 10 yards out, but Esposito came up with the big-time diving save to keep the match scoreless.

The 0-0 stalemate lasted until the 36th minute which was when the Wildcats got into the back of the net first. The ball was played from the left side of the pitch down to the right corner where Rizvani was able to track it down and make a move on the goal line to beat her defender; the senior carried it towards the frame before converting on the tough angle, slipping it past the SVC keeper and into the cage for her second goal of the year.

The marginal advantage would be short-lived, however, as Mallett registered an equalizer just shy of three minutes later. Southern Vermont was awarded a free kick from about 30 yards out on the left edge of the field, and Hamister decided to play a low drive towards the near post off the set piece; Esposito dropped down and kept the initial take out the net, but the rebound found Mallett six yards away for an easy slam-- that being her ninth goal of the year.

Esposito turned away another good Hamister free kick with 2:06 to play in the half as the game went to intermission deadlocked at 1-1.

That score stood until the 73rd minute when Helming put her team on top with her eighth of the season. Rizvani won the ball at the center line and carried it deep into SVC territory before playing a nice through pass into the top of the box; Helming took one touch to goal and slotted home the go-ahead score with a final tip past Mascari.

Bay Path would add an insurance goal 5:41 later, a pivotal score that would end up being the difference maker. With the SVC backline pulled up halfway through its own end, Helming played a ball from the middle of the field down to open space in the right side of the penalty area. Ruiz chased it down and got a sliding shot off just before Mascari could corral it, the Wildcat's 14th of the year making it a 3-1 upper hand for the visitors in the 79th minute.

With time waning, Southern Vermont had to play with urgency as the end of its season loomed. The Mountaineers earned a corner kick from the right side of the field with just under two minutes left on the clock, and the ball soared towards the back post off the foot of freshman Ashley Blom; a Bay Path defender accidentally knocked it in, giving the hosts hope heading into the final minute. It would be dashed, however, as the Wildcats prevented SVC from making any final attacks and celebrated their playoff victory.

Courtesy of Southern Vermont Athletics Communications.

#3 Regis 5, #6 Becker 0

WESTON, Mass. – The turnaround season continued for the Regis (Mass.) women's soccer team who scored a 5-0 win over Becker in the quarterfinal round of the New England Collegiate Conference Tournament Saturday at Regis Stadium.

Rachel Kelley and Tais Salles both scored a pair of goals with Noel Garcia tallying three assists. The Pride (11-6-2) now move on to play the winner of No. 2 Lesley and No. 7 Newbury. Becker closes its season at 9-9-1.

Rachel Kelley scored what proved to be the gamewinner less than 10 minutes into the game. She took a through ball from Michaela Bouvette and lifted her shot over an onrushing Jordyn Martel in net to put the Pride up 1-0.

Regis continued to dominate possession in the first half, resulting in another goal seconds before halftime. Erin Filetti took a pass from Garcia and finished past Martel.

The Pride all but sealed its spot in the semifinals with two goals midway through the second half. Kelley took a through ball from Garcia and beat Martel on a breakaway, then the newly inserted Salles scored off Garcia's third assist to put the Pride up 4-0. Salles added her second and the game's final goal off an assist from Joanna Rosa.

Amanda Matias for Regis and Martel for the Hawks both registered four saves.

Courtesy of Regis Athletics Communications.

#2 Lesley 2, #7 Newbury 0

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. The second-seeded Lesley University women's soccer team has advanced to the New England Collegiate Conference Semifinals following a 2-0 win over seventh-seeded Newbury College tonight in First Round play on Edward Field.

The Lynx, who improve to 14-4-2 on the season, will move on and play host to third-seeded Regis College on Wednesday night at 8:00p on Edward Field. The Pride advanced to the Semifinal Round following a 5-0 win over six-seed Becker College on Saturday afternoon.

In other NECC playoff action, top-seeded Elms College raced past eight-seed Mitchell College 6-0 and will battle fifth-seeded Bay Path University in the Semifinals. The Wildcats advanced following a 3-2 upset over No. 4 seed Southern Vermont College.

After a frustrating opening 78-minutes where the Lynx were shut out despite out-shooting the Nighthawks 24-0, Lesley finally broke through when junior Karlie Rubin buried a shot from just inside the 18-yard box following a feed from sophomore Jordan Mitchell.

That goal would open up an opportunity for an insurance marker just 3:07 later when sophomore Samantha Bessey settled a through ball from senior Victoria Ramirez and trickled a shot in past a sliding attempt from the Newbury keeper.

Lesley would take control of the match early on with multiple opportunities in the first half. The Lynx nearly opened a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute of play when Bessey connected for a header from six yards out, but her attempt clanged off the crossbar.

Newbury sophomore goalkeeper Noelle Sass turned away another Lesley scoring chance in the 23rd minute when she gathered up a drive from senior Victoria Ramirez from 12 yards out.

Sass would follow that save with another phenomenal stop when she thwarted away a one-timed attempt from senior Julie Essick. Essick nearly struck again moments later when she ricocheted a shot off the crossbar in the 37th minute. Sophomore Jordan Mitchell gathered the rebound off the bar and fired a shot high to keep the Lynx scoreless heading into halftime. Lesley outshot their guests by a 10-0 margin in the first half.

The Lesley offense continued to fire away at the Newbury cage to start the second half. Rubin drilled a right-footed laser from 25-yards, but  Sass was there to make a terrific diving save to her right and knocking the ball over the crossbar. The sophomore keeper made another diving save sending away a header by sophomore McKenna Straube, on the ensuing corner kick.

Sass continued to shine in between the pipes and made her third – and perhaps best save of the night – when she leaped and punched a Rubin header from inside he six yard box over the top of the bar.

Sass made 11 stops on the night in the losing effort while Lesley keeper Lilly Donovan did not face a shot in the shutout. Lesley outshot Newbury 26-0 on the night and had all ten corner kick opportunities. 

Courtesy of Lesley Athletics Communications.

#1 Elms 6, #8 Mitchell 0

CHICOPEE, Mass. – The top-seeded Elms College women's soccer team rolled to a 6-0 victory over visiting Mitchell College in a quarterfinal match of the 2016 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship tournament, hosted at Leary Field Saturday afternoon.

With the win, the Blazers improve to 16-3-1 on the season and advance to the semifinals to face five-seed Bay Path University, while the Mariners wrap up the 2016 campaign with a 2-14 mark.

The Blazers wasted little time cracked the scoreboard as junior Lexi Vieira chased a ball down the sideline and then delivered a cross to the front of the net, where classmate Brie Voight chipped a shot past Mitchell freshman goalkeeper Jordan Lohneiss to give Elms the 1-0 lead.

In the sixth minute of action, the Mariners knocked away a cross from Elms junior Mackenzie LaRochelle, but junior Jackie Soucia gathered the loose ball and tucked a shot past Lohneiss to make it 2-0. Just over five minutes later, Soucia launched a corner kick to the front of the net where senior Kathleen Tuechler delivered the finish to hand the Blazers a 3-0 lead.

Elms posted their final tally of the first half at the 1:52 mark as junior Madison Jung battled for a ball and then lofted a cross towards the net, where senior Rachel Connell swooped in and knocked the ball to the back of the net, staking the Blazers to a 4-0 lead at the half.

The Blazers carried their momentum into the second frame, adding to their advantage in the 51stminute as junior Angelina Estrada blasted home a one-timer off a ball from LaRochelle to build a 5-0 lead. Elms netted the final strike of the day as Voight ripped a shot off the post, but sophomore Kelsey Shea collected the rebound and fired a shot to the upper corner, sending the Blazers to the 6-0 victory.

The Blazers dominated the shot column, 36-0, during the contest. Elms freshman goalkeeper Rebecca Molin didn't face a shot as she collected her record-setting 13thshutout of the season, while Lohneiss made a match-high 14 saves for Mitchell in the loss.

Courtesy of Elms Athletics Communications.

First Round – Saturday, October 29th

Game 1: #5 Bay Path University 3, #4 Southern Vermont College 2
Game 2: #3 Regis College 5, #6 Becker College 0
Game 3: #2 Lesley University 2, #7 Newbury College 0
Game 4: #1 Elms College 6, #8 Mitchell College 0

Semifinals – Wednesday, November 2nd

Game 5: #5 Bay Path @ #1 Elms – TBA
Game 6: #3 Regis @ #2 Lesley – TBA

Championship – Saturday, November 5th

Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner – TBA