Newton, Mass. (11/4/12) – The Lasell College women's soccer team earned their third straight Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship with a 2-0 victory over the Simmons Sharks on Sunday afternoon. The second seeded Lasers used a pair of second half goals and some stout defending to defeat the fourth seeded Sharks and earn the GNAC automatic bid. Lasell stands at 14-4-1 on the season, while Simmons fell to 11-8-1.
Senior midfielder Mary Farley (Middleboro, Mass.) picked an opportune time to score her first goal of the season, netting the match winner in the 46th minute. Junior Ari DiOrio (Revere, Mass.) struck a driven ball from the left flank that Farley deflected into the net to put Lasell up 1-0. Bridget Lynch (Dover, N.H.) added an insurance goal in the 71st minute when her sister Kayla Lynch (Dover, N.H.) threaded a ball between a pair of Simmons defenders that Bridget was able to run on to and beat the Simmons keeper to give Lasell a 2-0 lead.
Ashley Parrelli (Marshfield, Mass.) picked up the victory for Lasell in net, tallying a pair of saves on the afternoon. Briana Hayes (Manorville, N.Y.) made four saves in the loss for Simmons. Lasell held a 16-10 edge in shots while Simmons earned a 5-3 advantage in corner kicks on the afternoon.
Simmons opened the contest strongly, nearly going up 1-0 in the opening minute, when a shot by Kristyn Heuslein (Manchester, N.H.) got past the Lasers keeper and nearly found the net but it was cleared by Lasell junior Jamie Osterberg (Monroe, Conn.). Heuslein had another opportunity in the sixth minute, but saw her effort finish wide of the frame. The Sharks continued to maintain the upper hand in the early going, but Lasell began to find their way into the match after a slow opening fifteen minutes.
The final 30 minutes of the opening half saw both teams create chances, but neither was able to seize the momentum heading into the intermission knotted at 0-0.
After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, Lasell took advantage of their early scoring chance capitalizing in the form of Farley's goal.
Lasell coach Vito LaFrancesca cited Farley's goal in the first minute of the second half as being the turning point of the match. "Mary's goal to start the second half changed the whole complexion of the match. It swung the momentum in our favor, and allowed us to settle in and play a more composed half. Obviously scoring the first goal is always an advantage, but for us it was the way we responded that made the biggest difference."
Simmons nearly equalized in the 61st minute, but Desh Perrara's (Reading, Mass.) effort was blocked, and then Lasell was called for a foul pursuing the deflection giving the Sharks a free kick from 25 yards out on the left flank. Justine Beauchamp (Exeter, N.H.) caught the Lasers keeper unbalanced, but her ball curled just outside the far post.
Lasell took advantage of the extra life, taking a 2-0 lead when the Lynch twins combined in the 71st minute.
Simmons mustered a couple of chances in the closing 15 minutes, but were unable to break down the Lasers defense, and the hosts held on for their third consecutive GNAC tournament championship.
After the traditional postgame water cooler dousing, a wet, weary and smiling LaFrancesca reflected back on what this year's journey was like. "It was a lot harder this time around. There was more pressure this year and there was a lot more stress. Coming into this year we put more pressure on ourselves, feeling like after having won the GNAC in back-to-back years we had set a pretty high bar. The fact that there was that much more pressure has made this the most satisfying win of the three."
Lasell will now sit and wait to see who they will be paired with in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
Bridget Lynch was named the 2012 GNAC tournament MVP after finishing with four goals and two assists in the three-game tournament.
2012 All-Tournament Team
Lindsey Garvey – JR - F - Warwick, R.I. – Emmanuel College
Ari Cardillo – FR - D - Pittsfield, Mass. – Emmanuel College
Melissa Dodge – FR – GK - Watertown, Conn. Univ. of St. Joseph (CT)
Kristen Whitman – SR – D - South Windsor, Conn - Univ. of St. Joseph (CT).
Justine Beauchamp – SR – M – Exeter, N.H. – Simmons College
Desh Perrara – JR – F – Reading, Mass. – Simmons College
Issy Verrilli – FR – D – Naugatuck, Conn. – Simmons College
Kayla Lynch – SO – M –Dover, N.H. – Lasell College
Reegan Brackett – SR – M – Scarborough, Me. – Lasell College
Jamie Osterberg – JR – D – Monroe, Conn. – Lasell College
Ashley Parrelli – SR – GK – Marshfield, Mass. – Lasell College
MVP – Bridget Lynch – F – Dover, N.H. – Lasell College