CHICOPEE, Mass. – The second-seeded Elms College women's soccer team overcame a first half deficit to capture a 2-1 victory over three-seed Southern Vermont College in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Women's Soccer Championship semifinal at Leary Field Wednesday night.
The Mountaineers set the tempo early as sophomore Juliena D'Alessio (Berlin, N.Y.) took the opening kickoff to goal as fired a shot on net, which Elms sophomore keeper Rebecca Molin (West Hartford, Conn.) turned away. In the 24th minute, Southern Vermont capitalized on their first corner kick of the game as sophomore Ashley Blom (Manorville, N.Y.) lofted a ball to the front of the net, where classmate Taylor Jarosz (Troy, N.Y.) found space and knocked a header past Molin to hand the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead.
The Mountaineers looked to add to their advantage early in the second half as freshman Jayne Wierzbicki (Wilmington, Mass.) knifed through the Blazers defense but her shot rang off the left goal post and away from goal to keep the score at 1-0.
With 24:24 on the clock, Elms junior defender Christina Leonardo (Enfield, Conn.) dribbled the ball into the attacking zone and tucked a past between a pair of SVC defenders, finding senior Brie Voight (Springfield, Mass.) on a charge to the net, and Voight delivered a finish past Moutaineer senior keeper Melissa Mascari (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) to even the score at 1-1.
The difference-maker for Elms came in the 86th minute as senior Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) grabbed a loose ball at the top of the box and fired a shot on goal, which knuckled through the air, caught Mascari off-guard and found the back of the net to lift the Blazers to the 2-1 win and their fifth straight trip to the NECC Championship match.
The Blazers controlled the shot column, 21-7, during the contest. Molin posted a pair of saves for Elms, while Mascari stopped a game-high six shots for Southern Vermont.
The Blazers (13-5-2) will face top-seed Lesley University for in the title game Saturday afternoon. This will be the fifth consecutive Championship match between the Blazers and the Lynx. The Mountaineers (12-5-1) wrapped up competition for the 2017 season.