CHICOPEE, Mass. - The Elms College Blazers earned their first victory of the 2018 season led by Babba Jaden's two goals to defeat New England College 2-1 on Leary field Saturday night.
New England College (3-3-1, 1-1 NECC) took control early in the game offensively, using the width effectively to stretch the Blazers (1-6, 1-1 NECC) back line and managed to take nine shots and earn three corners in the first half. However, Elms goalkeeper AJ Oliveira (Beacon Falls, Conn.) was able to make four saves, and the momentum switched with a Blazer goal in the 39th minute from forward Babba Jaden (Clarkston, Ga.) after Anthony Romei (Enfield, Conn.) delivered a perfectly weighted ball from the right side in behind the Pilgrim's back line for Jaden to run onto between two defenders for a decisive finish in the box.
Elms built off this momentum into the second half, with Jaden striking again in the 57th minute, this time off of a ball laid in from fellow forward Shaquille Robinson (New York, N.Y.) The Blazers were relentless in the attack, taking 10 shots and earning four corner kicks for several near opportunities, especially for Michael Lemke (Bristol, Conn.) on services into the box.
In the 83rd minute, a Pilgrim was taken down in the box, and Cooper Valinski (Portsmouth, N.H.) stepped up and finished the penalty kick opportunity to cut the Blazer advantage to 2-1. This wasn't enough however, and the Blazers held on for their first victory of the season and now stand at 1-1 in NECC play.
Elms will be back in action tomorrow at Western New England at 2:00 PM for a non-conference matchup. New England College will square off against Lyndon College on Monday at 7:00 PM for an additional non-conference game.