In the early game of first round action in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Women's Soccer Championship, No. 3 New England College used three second-half goals to rally past No. 6 Bay Path University for a 3-1 win.
1st Half 32:55 | BPU Joanna Feliciano (Lillian Doherty)
2nd Half 51:35 | NEC Molly Bieksha (Reese Hammond)
2nd Half 71:48 | NEC Kayla Paquin (Meghan Hickey)
2nd Half 82:52 | NEC Molly Bieksha (Emma Zanni)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The first half was largely owned by the Pilgrims as they applied a lot of pressure with many opportunities. The Pilgrims had 14 shots and six corner kicks in the first half but were unable to capitalize, despite many close opportunities. The first half remained scoreless until the 33rd minute when the Wildcats got their first and only corner kick opportunity of the half. Bay Path was able to play the ball in for a header that found the back of the net to give them a 1-0 lead. No other goals were scored in the half as the Wildcats were able to hold on to a 1-0 lead going into the second half.
The Pilgrims kept the pressure on in the second half adding nine shots and four corner kicks. This time however New England College was able to capitalize on their opportunities. Their first goal came early in the half off a goal from Molly Bieksha assisted by Reese Hammond to tie the game at 1-1. The Pilgrims were able to pick up two more goals later in the half the first from Kayla Paquin and the second another from Bieksha, to extend the lead to 3-1. Meghan Hickey and Emma Zanni picked up assists on the goals. The Wildcats were unable to get much going in the second half producing five shots and no goals. The score would hold at 3-1 as New England College picked up the win and moves on to the semifinals.
Emily Sashko picked up the win, after collecting two saves in the contest for the Pilgrims. Caitlyn Esposito recorded seven stops for the Wildcats.
The Pilgrims move on to the semifinals as they head to second-seeded Elms on Wednesday, November 6th at 7:00 pm.
In the late game, No. 5 Becker saw a pair of first half goals by sophomores Mariposa Nash-Gibney (Burlington, Vt.) and Hannah Trottier (Douglas, Mass.), which ended up being all the offense Becker needed, as they are advancing to the semifinals with a 2-1 win over the Eastern Nazarene Lions.
November 2, 2019
Score: Becker 2 – Eastern Nazarene 1
Records: The Becker College Hawks 12-7-2 | The Eastern Nazarene College Lions 3-12-1
The Hawks broke the ice early with Nash-Gibney notching her first goal of the playoffs.
Becker sophomore Kristen Beidleman (Holliston, Mass.) initiated the play in the Hawks attacking third, sliding a pass in the middle to senior Kyra Teixeira (Old Lyme, Conn.).
Teixeira redirected that pass into the path of Nash-Gibney, who touched the ball in behind the Lions defense and fired a shot from 20 yards away that was nearly saved by the outstretched right hand of Lions senior goalie Griselda Minchaca (Whittier, Calif.), but Nash-Gibney's shot had enough power to break through Minchaca, giving the Hawks an early 1-0 lead.
Becker doubled the lead in the 16th minute on the first goal of the season and playoffs by Trottier.
In a display of individual skill, Trottier gathered a loose ball near the right side of the penalty area. After creating some space, Trottier's shot went over the head of Minchaca and into the far side netting, giving Becker a 2-0 lead.
The Lions struck back just seconds later, officially in the 17th minute on a goal by junior Sam Bernardi (Longmeadow, Mass.).
Shortly after the kickoff that made the game 2-0, the Lions charged down the field and into the Hawks penalty area. Junior Diamond Best (Danvers, Mass.) slid a pass to Bernardi near the penalty spot.
Bernardi controlled the pass with one touch and fired a shot that Hawks freshman Olivia Sherwood (Southington, Conn.) got a hand on, but the near parry went off the post and in, cutting the Lions deficit to 2-1.
The Hawks created plenty of pressure in the second half, outshooting the Lions 12-3, but it was a defensive play by Hawks sophomore Rebecca Beringer (Waterville, Maine) that proved as a vital intervention in the 59th minute.
Bernardi claimed a loose ball at midfield and a series of 50-50 challenges allowed her to push past two defenders.
The play created a near breakaway for Bernardi as she broke for goal but Beringer made a recovering run from Bernardi's right side and cleared the ball away just 25 yards away from the Hawks goal, keeping Becker ahead 2-1.
FOR THE HAWKS
- Teixeira finished with a game-high nine shots for the Hawks.
- Trottier's goal is her first as a member of the Hawks.
- Sherwood improves to 8-6-2 following the win.
FOR THE LIONS
- Bernardi's tally was her fourth of the season.
- Minchaca made nine saves for Eastern Nazarene but falls to 3-12-1 after the loss.
The Hawks advance to the NECC Semifinals and have a date with the No. 1 seeded Lesley University Lynx on Wednesday, November 6 at 8:00 p.m. For the Lions, their season comes to a close at 3-12-1.
(Release courtesy of Becker Sports Information and New England College Sports Information)