CHICOPEE, Mass- The Elms College women's soccer team shut out visiting Bay Path University, 1-0, in the first round of the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship at Leary Field Tuesday evening.
The Blazers cracked the scoreboard with 3:25 left to play in the first half when freshman defender Angelina Estrada (Springfield, Mass) knocked down a cross into the box which she touched passed to freshman midfielder Jackie Soucia (Belchertown, Mass) who lofted a shot from over 25 yards out pass the reach of sophomore goalkeeper Alma Rizvani (Prospect, Conn) to put the Blazers up 1-0.
The Blazers outshot the Wildcats 21-4 over the course of the game. Rizvani gathered nine saves, while Blazers junior goalkeeper Alexa Rinaudo (Bellmore, N.Y.) turned away three, including one with under three minutes left to play. Rizvani subbed in as a forward and was rewarded a free kick after a foul from 20 yards out. Rizvani put the ball towards the upper right-hand corner, but Rinaudo punched the ball away and was cleared to safety.
"Getting the win today was huge," said Elms College Head Coach Sean Milbier. "All the games from now on will be tough, Bay Path gave us everything we could handle today. I thought we possessed the ball well, connected from our back to the midfield to our front line,and had a lot of chances. We just couldn't find that second and third goal to put them away. We just need a little bit more composure in the box, sometime we have more time then we think we do, and have to take a second to look up and put a shot on net. We played really well, and I was happy with our energy. We had some jitters in the final five minutes, but the way you eliminate that is by scoring that second goal, put the team away and don't let them hang around. Overall, I was very happy with our performance tonight."
The Blazers moved to 10-8-1 overall while Bay Path fell to 4-13-1. Elms advances to play the third-seed Regis (Mass) in the NECC semifinals on Thursday, November 6th at 6:00pm.