The Lasell College Lasers became the first team since 2002 to repeat as Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Soccer Champions as they topped the Suffolk University Rams 2-1 in Saturday's tournament final.
Senior Jessica Taylor (Standish, Me.) scored the game-winning goal at the 60th minute as the top-seeded Lasers improve to a 16-4-1 overall record and earn an automatic qualifier bid into the NCAA Division-III Women's Soccer Tournament.
Taylor's goal came off a rebound as freshman goalkeeper Melissa Brouillette (Shelton, Conn.) came diving out of the net to stop Taylor's initial bid. Brouillette could not maintain control of the ball and Taylor would put home her eleventh goal of the season from four yards out.
The game's opening minutes featured fireworks from Lasell as they came out with six shots in the first 15 minutes of the contest but could not capitalize on any of their opportunities thanks to some heads up play by the Suffolk defense.
The Lasers would get the game's first strike in the thirty-eighth minute as freshman Bridget Lynch (Dover, N.H.) snuck past the Suffolk defense scoring the first goal against the Rams in the 2011 playoffs.
Lasell missed a golden opportunity to extend their lead at the fifty minute mark as senior Molly Clarke (Berlin, Conn.) was awarded a penalty kick. Clarke decided to go right as Brouillette stuck with her and the shot would hit off the post.
The missed opportunity would help sway the momentum over to the Rams.
Suffolk would even the score in the fifty-fifth minute of the game as sophomore Monica Wolf (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) blasted a shot from 18 yards out. Wolf took a pass from senior Leslie Hayden (Ross, Calif.) in the center of the field as she knocked in her sixth goal of the 2011 campaign.
Taylor's goal would put the Lasers up for good as they counted on senior goalkeeper Elizabeth Stickley (Mashpee, Mass.) for the remainder of the contest to guide them to victory. Stickley would make three saves over the final twenty minutes of the game and finished with seven total saves in the contest as her and Taylor earned Co-MVP honors for the three-game tournament.
Hayden had a chance to even the contest with sixteen minutes remaining but her shot would sail wide.
Lasell held a 23-13 edge in shot over the Rams in the contest.
Brouillette was strong again in goal for the Rams as she made a total of 10 saves in the contest. She finished the three game playoff stretch making 30 saves and only allowing two goals in 270 minutes of action.
Hayden, Wolf and freshman Hannah McNulty (Stowe, Vt.) earned All-Tournament honors for the Rams. Hayden scored the game-winning goals in each of the Rams victories to get them to the championship game, while Wolf scored her only goal of the playoffs during Saturday's final. McNulty was a strong part of the Suffolk defense that only allowed two goals in their playoff run.
With the loss, Suffolk moves to an 11-8-1 overall record for 2011.
Suffolk will look to continue postseason play with a bid into the Division-III New England Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament. The eight-team single elimination field will be release on Monday November 7.
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