Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College women's lacrosse team posted their first ever victory over visiting Wentworth Institute of Technology, defeating the Leopards, 14-12, in a non-conference game at Leary Field Thursday night. With the win, the Blazers improve to 9-2 on the season, while the Leopards dropped to 2-12 overall.
After six minutes of scoreless action, the Blazers cracked the scoreboard as freshman Alecia Keesee (Westfield, Mass.) converted off a feed from junior Alissa Porfilio (Agawam, Mass.) to hand Elms a 1-0 lead. Less than 30 seconds later, freshman Haley Richard (Monson, Mass.) found the back of the net on a free position shot at the 23:26 mark. Keesee added an unassisted tally, and then provided an assist on a strike from Richard to push the Blazers ahead 4-0.With 21:43 on the clock, Elms junior Jackie Soucia (Belchertown, Mass.) won a draw and raced down the field and beat WIT sophomore keeper Liz Gunning (Fort Salonga, N.Y.) to make it 5-0.
The Leopards began to whittle at the Elms advantage as senior Sage Vadenais (Fiskdale, Mass.) tallied an unassisted goal, followed by a connection between sophomore Brooke Paradis (Pelham, N.H.) and freshman Marissa Nelson (Cranston, R.I.) to trim the gap to 5-2. The Blazers rebuilt their lead as Keesee netted back-to-back free position goals, trailed by a goal from Richard at the 11:30 mark. Down 9-2, Wentworth used unassisted goals from freshman Julie Dam (Milford, Mass.) and Paradis to trim the deficit to 9-4. After Elms sophomore Vanessa Vurno (Salem, Conn.) responded with back-to-back goals, the Leopards closed the half as freshman Kaitlyn Darveau (South China, Maine) and Paradis scored within a 10-second span in the final minute to set the score at 11-6 at the half.
Wentworth opened the second half scoring as sophomore Leah Cummins (Plymouth, Mass.) converted off a pass from Paradis. Vurno and Soucia sandwiched goals around a tally from Wentworth senior Brandie Holland (Lynn, Mass.) to make it 13-8 with 19:26 to go.
The Leopards mounted a comeback in the final 15 minutes of play, sparked by an unassisted goal from Paradis. Following a free-position goal from Porfilio, Paradis struck again to close the deficit to 14-10 with 5:47 to play. The Blazers defense held the Leopards off the scoreboard for the next four minutes until a free position goal from Cummins put Wentworth within three goals, 14-11. Paradis added a late free position goal, but the Leopards rally came up short as the Blazers secured the 14-12 victory.
Keesee paced the Blazers offense with five points on four goals and an assist. Soucia posted four points with three goals and an assist, while Vurno and Richard both netted a trio of goals. Porfilio notched a goal and an assist in the win.
With a game-high seven points, Paradis became the third player in Wentworth program history to reach 100 career points. Cummins scored two goals and Nelson contributed a goal and an assist for the Leopards.
The Blazers outshot the Leopards, 37-23, during the contest, while Wentworth edged Elms in draw controls, 15-13. Elms senior goalie Meeghan O'Connor (Fall River, Mass.) made nine saves in the win, and Gunning stopped a game-high 12 shots for the Leopards.
The Blazers will look for their fourth straight win when they host Wheelock College in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) clash at Leary Field Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Saturday's game will be Senior Day for Elms. Wentworth host Western New England in a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) game Saturday at Noon.