Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College women's soccer team had six different players find the back of the net during a 6-0 victory over visiting Becker College in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) match at Leary Field Saturday afternoon. The Blazers improve to 9-1-1 on the season and 3-0 in conference action, while the Hawks drop to 2-1 in league play and 7-4 overall.
After pressing the offense early in the match, the Blazers cracked the scoreboard in the fifth minute of action as junior Angelina Estrada (Springfield, Mass.) battled for a loose ball on the sideline and lofted a cross to the front of the box, where junior Brie Voight (Springfield, Mass.) worked around a challenge by Becker sophomore keeper Jordyn Martel (Chicopee, Mass.) and tucked the ball into the open net, staking Elms to a 1-0 lead. Less than five minutes later, the Blazers added to the lead as junior Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) raced up the left sideline and launched a cross to the back post for a left-footed finish by classmate Jackie Soucia (Belchertown, Mass.) to make it a 2-0 contest.
In the 26th minute, a red card was issued against the Hawks for an intentional handball, resulting in a penalty kick for Elms. On the ensuing attempt, Martel made a huge diving stop to her right side, to preserve the 2-0 scoreboard.
The Blazers found the back of the net less than 30 seconds later, as LaRochelle launched a corner kick to the back post, where Voight headed the ball to the front of the net for a touch finish from senior Kathleen Tuechler (Farmingdale, N.Y.) padding the Blazers cushion to 3-0. In the 27th minute, sophomore Kelsey Shea (Belchertown, Mass.) deflected a loose ball past the Hawks defensive line, where sophomore Danielle Asklar (Berlin, Conn.) gathered the loose ball and ripped a shot past Martel to give Elms the 4-0 advantage. The Blazers maintained the 4-0 lead heading into halftime.
Elms carried their momentum into the second half, adding to their lead in the opening two minutes of the stanza. Junior Jackie Soucia (Belchertown, Mass.) lifted a ball to the front of the net where Estrada knocked down a one-touch for a strike from LaRochelle that laced through the hands of Martel and into the net for a 5-0 game. The Blazers closed out their scoring in the 55th minute as Estrada put home a feed from LaRochelle to send Elms to the 6-0 victory.
The Blazers defensive line held the Hawks to a zero in the shot column, while Elms produced 21 shots in the contest. Blazers freshman Rebecca Molin (West Hartford, Conn.) registered her sixth straight shutout and eight clean sheet of the season, while Martel stopped a match-high six shots for Becker.
"We showed a complete team effort today," said Elms Head Coach Sean Milbier. "[Becker] is an offensive team, so our goal was not to concede and not to give up a shot, and we accomplish both those goals. Offensively, we showed great patience and followed the gameplan really well. We typically play out wide, but today we pinched in and showed some nice combination play. The remainder of our schedule is still tough, we have a few on the road, Southern Vermont coming in here will be difficult, but the way we are playing I like it a lot. Our bench was fantastic because they work so hard. [Our bench players] work so hard in training to push our starters and make them better, and they own that role, so to see them go out there and play so well was the icing on the cake. Westfield will be a difficult match, they've had our number the last couple years. [Westfield] is a very good team, very physical and very technical, but we get them at home and we'll look to keep the home win streak going."
The Blazers will look to push their win streak to seven games when they host Westfield State in non-conference action at Leary Field Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Becker hosts Rhode Island College in non-conference play at Alumni Field Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.