The Suffolk University Women's Soccer team defeated the Albertus Magnus College Falcons 1-0 in Wednesday's Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) semi-final round of the 2011 league tournament. With the win the Rams now advance to Saturday's conference finals against top-seeded Lasell College as the winner will earn an automatic qualifier bid into this year's NCAA Division-III Women's Soccer Tournament.
Senior Leslie Hayden (Ross, Calif.) once again took care of the offense for Suffolk as she scored the game's only goal on a breakaway 24 minutes into the contest and freshman goalkeeper Melissa Brouillette (Shelton, Conn.) made eight saves for her ninth shutout of the season as the Rams have won both playoff games by 1-0 scores.
As was the case on Saturday, Hayden scored early and the Rams transitioned their defense to withstand their opponents pressure. Albertus came out attacking in the second half as they put up a total of 15 shots compared to Suffolk's two, but Brouillette would answer the challenge. She would make four saves in the half and none bigger than a leaping save at the 5:38 mark as she punched a shot over the net by sophomore Meghan Loughman (Trumbull, Conn.). Loughman led all attackers on both sides registering four shots on goal in the contest.
Hayden's goal was the 22nd of the season, a new Suffolk program high. It was also her sixth game-winning goal of the season as she has now registered 14 in her career.
The win moves the Rams to an 11-7-1 overall mark on the season. They entered the eight-team single elimination tournament as the seventh seed. They'll be taking on number one seed Lasell College who maintains a 15-4-1 record this year and finished the regular season with an 11-2 record in GNAC play. Lasell advances to the GNAC finals for the second straight season. They claimed their only conference championship in 2010 with a 1-0 victory over Norwich University. Lasell will be looking to be the first team since 2002 to win consecutive GNAC championships as six different institutions have represented the conference in the NCAA tournament field since 2005. This will be Suffolk's first appearance in the conference finals.
Saturday's championship will be played at 1:00pm at Lasell's Taylor Field.