CHICOPEE, Mass. – Elms College sophomore midfielder Michelle Rossignol (Manchester, Conn.) netted a pair of first half goals on corner kicks from sophomore forward Melissa Welch (Westfield, Mass.) to help spark the second-seeded Blazers to a 3-0 victory over third-seeded Bay Path College in Thursday evening's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship tournament semifinal match at Leary Field.
With the win, Elms improves to 11-8-1 on the season and advances to the tournament title game for the second time in three years on Saturday afternoon. Bay Patch concludes its season 9-7-2 overall.
The Blazers scored all three of their goals in the first stanza and took advantage of an early corner kick as Welch served a perfect ball in to Rossignol who headed the ball into left side of the net 1:10 into the contest.
The pair connected for a second time at the 28:01 mark as Welch again delivered a well-placed corner kick to Rossignol who finished with her second tally of the game.
Elms orchestrated its third goal when freshman midfielder Kylen O'Hearn (Somers, Conn.) issued a quick pass to senior forward Victoria Cebula (Granby, Mass.) who centered the ball to junior midfielder Carmen Marino (Granby, Mass.) who struck the ball into the back of the net from just inside the 18-yard box to give the Blazers a 3-0 advantage in the 35th minute.
Bay Path's best opportunity to score came midway through the first frame when Keelin Dougherty (Northfield, N.H.) received a beautiful pass from Megan Tancredi (Newington, Conn.) and headed the ball on target, but Elms' sophomore goalkeeper Alexa Rinaudo (Bellmore, N.Y.) made a diving save to keep the Wildcats off the board.
The sides played a scoreless second half of soccer despite a pair of chances from Blazers senior defender Ally Witaszek (Feeding Hills, Mass.) who had one shot strike the crossbar and another shot that Bay Path net-minder Alma Rizvani (Prospect, Conn.) hauled in.
Dougherty added another shot on goal in the second half but Rinaudo dealt with the danger to preserve the 3-0 win.
Rizvani finished with 11 saves, seven of which came in the second half. Elms' defensive line of Witaszek, senior Ashley Venancio (Ludlow, Mass.), sophomore Lyndsey Oppenheimer (Easthampton, Mass.) and freshman Kathleen Tuechler (Farmingdale, N.Y.) were solid in the winning effort in front of Rinaudo.