Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The second-seeded Elms College women's lacrosse team rallied from an early deficit to capture a 14-11 victory over visiting three-seed Southern Vermont College in their New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship semifinal match at Leary Field Thursday evening.
With the win, the Blazers (13-2) advance to the NECC Championship game for the first time in program history, and will face top-seeded Regis College for the conference crown Saturday afternoon. The Mountaineers (8-6) have concluded play for the 2017 season.
Southern Vermont kickoff the high-scoring affair as sophomore Sofia Sorriento (Troy, N.Y.) netted an unassisted strike in the second minute of action. After Elms used a tally from junior Jackie Soucia (Belchertown, Mass.) to even the match at 1-1, the Mountaineers potted four straight goal, featuring a pair from senior Mel Orrell (Wrentham, Mass.) and Lauren Nesshoever (Chittenden, Vt.) to push Southern Vermont to a 5-1 advantage at the 10:55 on the clock.
Trailing 6-2, Soucia and freshman Haley Richard (Monson, Mass.) scored back-to-back unassisted goals to close the gap to 6-4. Southern Vermont senior Emily Lesure (Cheshire, Mass.) converted off a feed from junior Paige Vitale (Port Jervis, N.Y.) to regain a 7-4 lead, but the Blazers closed the half strong with strikes from Soucia and sophomore Vanessa Vurno (Salem, Conn.) in the final two minutes to trim the deficit to 7-6 at the half.
Elms carried their momentum into the second stanza with freshman Alecia Keesee (Westfield, Mass.) firing home a pass from Soucia on the opening possession to even the game at 8-8. The sides traded goals over the next 13 minutes with Elms junior Alissa Porfilio (Agawam, Mass.) scoring twice and Lesure providing a goal and an assist for the Mountaineers as the game remained tied at 10-10 with 16:28 to go.
The Blazers grabbed their first lead of the game as Vurno ripped a free-position shot to the back of the net at the 15:51 mark. The would-be game-winner came in the 47th minute when Soucia spotted Porfilio on a run from the wing and Porfilio delivered the finish for her second hat trick of the season. Southern Vermont made it 12-11 as Nesshoever converted a free-position shot with 7:22 to play, but Elms put the game away when freshman Janie Christian (Westfield, Mass.) and Keesee connected twice down the stretch to secure the 14-11 victory.
The Blazers edged the Mountaineers in the shot column, 33-27, and draw controls, 15-12, while Southern Vermont took the groundball battle, 30-27. Elms senior Meeghan O'Connor (Fall River, Mass.) made seven saves in the win, while Mountaineers junior goalie Kristiana Goldup (Schuylerville, N.Y.) stopped a game-high 11 shots for Southern Vermont.
Soucia and Vurno helped lead the Blazers offense with five points each. Soucia had a trio of goals, and Vurno dished out a game-high three assists. Richard and Porfilio tallied three goals apiece, while Keesee added two goals and two assists.
Lesure posted three goals and an assist for Southern Vermont, while Nesshoever notched thee goals. Orrell and Sorriento scored two goals apiece in the loss.