Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College women's soccer team snapped visiting Lesley University's 61-game unbeaten streak in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) with a 1-0 shutout over the Lynx Saturday afternoon at Leary Field. With the win, the Blazers improve 7-1-1 and 2-0 in the NECC, while Lesley drops to 4-3-2 and 1-1 in league play.
The last time the Blazers defeated the Lynx in the regular season was during the 2008 season when Elms claimed a 1-0 win. The Blazers last win against Lesley came in the 2011 NECC Championship game, as Elms posted another 1-0 victory.
The conference rivals held a scoreless match over the opening 17 minutes of play, until Elms junior Brie Voight (Springfield, Mass.) gathered a loose ball and raced up the right sideline and found classmate Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) in the middle of the pitch. Lesley junior goalkeeper Lilly Donovan (Newburyport, Mass.) raced from the net to challenge LaRochelle, but LaRochelle was able to weave past Donovan and place a shot into the back of the empty net, staking Elms to a 1-0 lead at the 17:29 mark. Junior Rachel Connell (Easthampton, Mass.) had a chance to add to the Blazers advantage in the 35th minute, but Donovan made a key save to preserve the 1-0 score into halftime.
After Donovan posted another stop in the opening minute of the second half, the Lynx mounted their best scoring chances of the afternoon behind shots from sophomore Rachel Buckley (San Diego, Calif.) and Samantha Bessey (Algonquin, Ill.), but Elms freshman goalkeeper Rebecca Molin (West Hartford, Conn.) notched a pair of clutch saves to maintain the clean sheet and the 1-0 victory.
The Lynx edged the Blazers in shot, 5-4, during the contest. Molin made two saves in her sixth shutout of the season, while Donovan stopped two shots for Lesley in the loss.
"Today's win was amazing," said Elms Head Coach Sean Milbier. "Probably one of the bigger win in the history of our program to this point. Everyone knows [Lesley] has been the top dog in the conference for the last four-plus years, 61-game unbeaten streak, and for us to knock them off is a proud moment for me. The team worked so hard, trained hard all the time, and became a tough and technical team. The backline was amazing today, the midfield played solid, and Rachel Mick and Angie [Estrada] were working hard. I'm very proud of the team, and we have a lot of work to do with a big game against Clark next week, but we'll savior this. This is a huge win for us, we're really proud of the team, really proud of the program, and I'm sure we'll see [Lesley] again."
The Blazers will look to continue their winning ways with a non-conference road trip to Clark University Tuesday night for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. Lesley returns to action with a home tilt against Suffolk University Monday at 8:00 p.m.