Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College women's soccer program accomplished a first Wednesday night, claiming their first ever win over visiting Clark University with a 2-1 victory over the Cougars at Leary Field. With the win, Elms improves to 6-2-1 overall, while Clark drops to 2-6-2 on the season.
In the 14th minute of play, the Cougars broke the scoreless tie as junior Kara Fischer (Belmont, Mass.) received a long pass for a 2-on-1 breakaway. Elms senior goalkeeper Alexa Rinaudo (Bellmore, N.Y) raced from her net to challenge Fischer, who chipped a ball over Rinaudo and then tucked the ball into the open goal to give Clark a 1-0 lead.
With 8:49 remaining in the first half, the Blazers netted the equalizer as sophomore Madison Jung (Stafford Springs, Conn.) fired a cross through the hands of Clark senior goalie Gabby Paolini (North Potomac, Md.) to the foot of fellow sophomore Brie Voight (Springfield, Mass.), who placed a shot into the open goal, knotting the game at 1-1. The contest remained tied heading into the intermission.
The Blazers carried their momentum into the second half, generating a couple scoring chances in the opening minutes. In the 58th minute, freshman Christina Leonardo (Enfield, Conn.) launched a ball to the far side, where sophomore Jackie Soucia (Belchertown, Mass.) fired a shot on goal, which was saved by Paolini, but she couldn't control the rebound and Soucia knocked home the game-winner for Elms.
"The most important thing is we got another team win tonight," said Elms College Head Coach Sean Milbier. "There's been a lot of one-goal victories this year, and we are learning how to play in tight games. It was the first time this year that we've been down and came back for a win. We gave up the goal, but no one thought we'd lose this game 1-0. We came back hard, almost scored 20 second after, continued to play hard, got the equalizer, and then got the game-winner. We didn't want to lose two in a row, so to see us come back and play well on Leary [Field] was big for us. Our defensive responsibilities were key today, we hunted the ball and pressured the field, and when we got possession, we stayed calm and found feet. Heading to Becker will be a huge game for us, it's a road conference match and Becker has a very good record. We'll have our hands full, but we'll be ready."
The Blazers outshot the Cougars, 16-6, during the meeting. Rinaudo made one save for Elms, while Paolini stopped a game-high six shots.
The Blazers will look to continue their winning ways with a road trip to Becker College Saturday afternoon for a conference tilt at Noon. The Cougars host Mount Holyoke College in conference action Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.