Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College women's soccer squad battled in a scoreless opening half, but surrendered three second half goals, as visiting Lesley University downed the Blazers, 3-0, in a New England Collegiate Conference matchup at Leary Field Saturday afternoon.
The conference foes held each other off the scoreboard in a back and forth opening half. The Lynx had a chance to crack the scoreboard in the first half, but Blazers junior goalkeeper Alexa Rinaudo (Holtsville, N.Y.) made a diving save, and the loose ball follow up from Lynx senior defender Jasmine Sanchez (Chino, Calif.) fired a shot off the crossbar.
In the 50th minute of play, Lynx senior Alexis Giusti (Meridian, Calif.) launched a free kick into the Blazers box, where junior defender Isabella Vidana (San Marcos, Calif.) elevated over the Elms defense and headed home the ball to give Lesley a 1-0 lead.
At the 17:43 mark of the second half, the Lynx began to pull away as Giusti chipped a ball over a challenging Rinaudo, landing at the foot of junior midfielder Hayley Wirth (Escondido, Calif.) who put a shot into a wide open net, pushing the Lesley advantage to 2-0. Just over two minutes later, the Lynx put the game away as Giusti ripped shot into the upper right corner from 25 yards out to send the Lynx to a 3-0 win.
"It was a very tough game, and [Lesley is] a very good team," said Elms Head Coach Sean Milbiers. "We played a great first half, but gave up a goal early in the second half and never recovered. I thought we moved the ball really well, played hard, and our effort was very good. We had a couple players in new positions and they performed very well. We asked them to do some things today that they haven't done all year and they did very well. I think we need to improve out consistency moving forward. We have a tendency to lose our concentration and make a mistake where we are pulling the ball out of the back of our net. We need to be a little more consistent and put together a solid 90-minute match. We have a tough match against Westfield State next, who's a very good out of conference opponent. What we really need to do is score the first goal, and that will be our main goal for the game and come away with the result."
Lesley outshot Elms, 16-6, during the contest. Rinaudo made a game-high seven saves, while Lynx junior goalie Jackie Berard (Coventry, R.I.) stopped four shots.
The Blazers move to 2-7 overall, and 1-1 in NECC play, while Lesley improved to 8-3, and 2-0 on the year. Elms will look to move back into the win column in a non-conference matchup with Westfield State at Leary Field Wednesday night. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m.