CHICOPEE, Mass. – Elms College sophomore forward Kristina Kopyscinski (Agawam, Mass.) scored the first goal of the game and the game-winner in the penalty shootout to help spark the Blazers to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Rivier University in Saturday afternoon's non-conference field hockey game at Leary Field.
With the win, Elms improves to 1-4 on the season while Rivier falls to 1-2 overall.
In a game that featured four first half scores, Kopyscinski got the scoring started just 2:23 into the contest when she took a pass from senior midfielder Brianna Lyons (Canton, Mass.) and fired the ball into the cage to give Elms a 1-0 lead.
Rivier rallied when Nicole Hauer (North Attleboro, Mass.) received a feed from Alex Ricco (West Springfield, Mass.) and deposited the ball in the net to cut the Raiders' deficit to 2-1 in the 17th minute of action. Seven minutes later, Hauer assisted on Chelsea Gomes' (Epsom, N.H.) to level the game at 2-2.
After neither side could score the go-ahead goal in regulation, Elms had a flurry of opportunities to score in the two 15 minute overtime periods, highlighted by six shots on target from Kopyscinski, but Rivier goalkeeper Makenzie Flagg (Shirley, Mass.) made five sensational saves in each period of extra time to keep the score at 2-2.
In the best-of-five shootout competition, Brittani Garza (Alexandra, Va.) scored with the very first shot for the Raiders to give them a 1-0 advantage. After the next four shooters for both sides missed, Kopyscinski delivered the equalizing goal to keep the shootout alive.
After Blazers' sophomore goalkeeper Samantha Alvino (Holtsville, Mass.) turned aside Rivier's next shooter, Kopyscinski connected for the game-clincher.
Alvino finished with five saves in the win including two brilliant stops in the second overtime stanza. Flagg was superb between the pipes making 18 stops including seven in the first half.
Kopyscinski collected 11 shots on goal in the winning effort.
Elms returns to non-league play on Tuesday, September 17 at 5:00 p.m. when it hosts Smith College at Leary Field.