NEWTON, Mass. (11/2/17) -- For the eighth year in a row, the Lasell College women's soccer team has advanced to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship. The Lasers, who have won the previous seven conference championships, will host the Wildcats of Johnson & Wales on Saturday November 4th at 2:30p.m.
Lasell clinched their eighth straight appearance with an impressive 3-1 victory over Saint Joseph's (ME) in the GNAC semifinal on Tuesday. Senior Casey Meissner (Sandwich, Mass.) scored all three goals to lift the Lasers over the Monks. Meissner's first goal came just 52 seconds, finishing in the top left corner off an assist from Melissa Vasquez (Pawtucket, R.I.)
The Monks would tie the game in the 14th minute, but Meissner responded for the Lasers just 42 seconds later to give Lasell a 2-1 lead. In the 21st minute junior Carly Zdanek (Newton, N.J.) beat two defenders before crossing the ball to Meissner in the box, giving the Lasers insurance.
Senior Sarah LaClair (Belchertown, Mass.) made five saves for the Lasers enroute to the semifinal victory. LaClair boasts a .795 save percentage heading into the GNAC championship, good for fourth-best in the conference.
Johnson & Wales advanced to the GNAC championship following a 2-0 shutout semifinal victory versus Simmons. The Wildcats scored twice in the span of eight minutes, as Olivia Cairrao (Bristol, R.I.) broke through Sharks defense in the 52 minute. Deja Hursey (Columbia, Md.) added another for the Wildcats in the 60th minute to secure the victory.
Hursey and Cairrao, whom top the GNAC in goals with 23 and 17 respectively, will look to knock off the Lasers on Saturday. Kyra Selner (Sterling, Va.) ties Hursey for a team high seven assists, good for third-best in conference. With 53 points, Hursey leads the GNAC, holding the top spot over teammate Cairrao by 14 points.
Goalkeeper Colleen Lynch (New Milford, Conn.) leads the GNAC in save percentage (.846), goals against (10), and goals-against average (.58.) Lynch has made 55 saves in 19 games, including six shutouts this season.
In the lone regular season meeting between the two, Lasell clinched the top seed in the GNAC Tournament, defeating Johnson & Wales 2-0 on the road. In the 32nd minute Zdanek was tripped up in the box, and junior Erika Badger (Scituate, Mass.) capitalized on the PK , giving the Lasers a 1-0 lead. Vasquez clinched the victory in the 76th minute, scoring from far outside the box.
LaClair made three saves to recorded her program record 24th shutout, her 10th of the season. The victory as marked the 150th victory for head coach Vito La Francesca at the helm of the program.
The GNAC Championship is set to kick-off at 2:30p.m. from Taylor Field, and can be viewed live at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/lasell/.