NEWTON, Mass. – Senior Sabrina Morais (Arlington, Mass.) connected from the middle of the box on a pass from the right sideline in the 103rd minute Friday afternoon to lift the top-seeded Lasell College women's soccer team to a 2-1 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) quarterfinal victory over eighth-seeded University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) at Taylor Field.
Morais sprinted from the middle of the field in the third minute of the second overtime, creating enough separation from the Blue Jays defenders to receive a cross from senior Carly Zdanek (Newton, N.J.) to clinch the victory.
The eight-time defending champion Lasers (13-5-0) advance to a GNAC semifinal game on Wednesday, October 31st, at Taylor Field against fourth-seeded Emmanuel College. The Saints (13-5-0) edged fifth-seed Regis College Friday evening, 1-0, in their quarterfinal match-up. The upset-minded Blue Jays complete their season at 7-8-1.
Next Wednesday's semifinal will be a rematch of this past Wednesday's regular season finale, when Emmanuel upset Lasell, 2-1, to hand the Lasers their only conference loss this season and snapping a 20-game win streak against GNAC opponents.
USJ nearly got on the scoreboard in the early going when senior Annmarie Masayda (Watertown, Conn) took a shot from the left side of the box that was deflected off the crossbar for the Blue Jays, before Rylee Snow (West Greenwich, R.I.) put a rebound shot just inches above the net.
The Blue Jays would take a 1-0 lead with 36:02 remaining in the first half, as senior Amanda Ghent (Portland, Conn.) scored on a penalty kick following a foul inside the box.
A handball inside the box by USJ gave Lasell senior Erika Badger (Scituate, Mass.) a penalty-kick opportunity, and Badger put it deep into the left side of the net past a right-diving keeper.
Lasell outshot Saint Joseph 12-6 in a tightly-contested first half. The favored Lasers turned up the offense in the second half and outshot the visitors 10-0, but could not put one past USJ junior keeper Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.). Senior Emma Papile (Quincy, Mass.) had a good scoring opportunity against Ricci with 15 minutes remaining, and classmate Morgan Pinksten (Pelham, N.H.) nearly scored with 10 minutes to go, but her shot was knocked away by a Blue Jay defender. Freshman Serena Speight (Biddeford, Maine) just missed a chance with about two minutes remaining.
Lasell had three shots in the first overtime before scoring on its first shot in the second extra frame. The Lasers finished with a 26-6 margin in shots, with all six Blue Jay attempts coming in the first half.
Ricci was outstanding in the Blue Jays' goal, matching her season-high with 13 saves. Freshman goalkeeper Angela Sanzari (North Haven, Conn.) record three saves to earn the win for the Lasers.
-- 30 --