WESTON, Mass. – Junior Kerri Anselmo (Natick, Mass.) scored her sixth goal of the game with 30 seconds remaining Wednesday evening, breaking a 14-all tie and lifting second-seeded Regis College to a dramatic 15-14 victory over third-seeded Lasell College in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's lacrosse semifinal at the Regis Stadium.
Lasell had battled back from a four-goal deficit with eight minutes remaining, tying the game up at 14-14 with three minutes to play. The Lasers put two shots on goal before Regis notched the go-ahead goal, and had a shot in the final five seconds in an attempt to send the game into overtime, but the shot went wide.
The win sends Regis (15-2) into the GNAC championship game on Saturday, May 4, at top-seeded and defending champion Johnson & Wales University at 1 p.m. The Wildcats (15-4) upended fifth-seeded Simmons University in Wednesday's other semifinal, 20-5. Lasell wraps up the season with a 15-4 overall record, matching the best record in program history, accomplished in 2012 and 2013.
Lasell had a balanced scoring attack, as senior Vanessa Pino (Methuen, Mass.) scored four goals, junior Amanda DiLeonardo (West Haven, Conn.) and sophomore Kellie Matthews (Walpole, Mass.) recorded three goals and an assist each, and senior Jordan McComb (Cumberland, R.I.) scored three goals and collected six draw controls.
Anselmo's six goals led all scorers for Regis, while senior Alyssa Kelly (Lee, Mass.) tallied three goals and an assist and junior Brooke Ross (Hanover, Mass.) added two goals.
It took almost 20 minutes of play for both offenses to start clicking, as the score was tied at 2-2 before Lasell three times in the span of 1:37, as goals by Matthews, DiLeonardo and McComb put the Lasers ahead, 5-2. After the two teams scored two goals apiece, Regis closed out the first half with four straight, featuring two tallies by Ross, the second of which put the Pride on top at halftime, 8-7.
Pino scored consecutive goals 1:36 apart to put the Lasers back on top, 9-8, but Regis responded, led by three straight goals by Anselmo to go along with a tally by Rachel Nadeau (Coventry, Conn.), as the Pride pulled ahead, 12-9. After a free-position goal by McComb, Emily Kosak (Milton, Mass.) and Taylor Assarian (Arlington, Mass.) scored on free-position opportunities to extend the Regis advantage to 14-10 with 11:48 left in the second half.
Lasell rallied back, as Matthews and DiLeonardo scored two goals apiece in a span of just over five minutes. Matthews' goal off an assist by Kaeli Leddy (South Portland, Maine) tied the match at 14-14 with 3:10 remaining in regulation. The Lasers had two opportunities to pull ahead, but shots by DiLeonardo and Erin Kriger (Burlington, Mass.) were turned away by Regis goalie Brittany McPherson (Lynn, Mass.).
After gaining possession and calling timeout with 1:13 left in the second half, Regis put together a successful clear, and Anselmo proceeded to earn a free position attempt. Anselmo converted on that opportunity with 30 seconds remaining on the clock to put the Pride ahead. Kriger won the ensuing draw control for Lasell, but the Pride defense forced the Lasers to use a lot of time entering their offensive zone, and a last-ditch shot by DiLeonardo sailed wide.
Regis and Johnson & Wales will be meeting for the second time in 11 days, as the two squads faced each other last Wednesday, April 24, to close out the regular season. The Wildcats defeated the Pride, 17-8, but the stakes for Saturday's rematch will be much higher, as the winner receives the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
(Contributions from Regis Sports Information)
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