The Lesley Women's Soccer team won its fourth straight New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship on Saturday afternoon, defeating the New England College Pilgrims 5-1. The Lynx finish with a 14-3-1 record and move on to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Tournament, facing the 14-1-2 Mammoths of Amherst College in the first round.
While victory is nothing new for the Lynx women — nine NECC titles — this year’s success is even sweeter given all the practice and game time lost last year because of the COVID pandemic.
"We all know how special this program is and how much talent we have as a team, but after losing a year of soccer, we were just more excited than ever to be back playing together,” says Calli Masters ’23. The junior midfielder from West Lynn, Oregon, was named the NECC Tournament’s most valuable player.
Masters credits her teammates for her MVP honor, saying, “I am so proud of all my teammates who persisted through the adversity we had to overcome so that we could take home another championship this year. Like I told all of them Saturday night, I genuinely could not be the player I am without them, and their support truly means the world to me.”
Her coach, Paul Vasconcelos, applauds Masters’ tenacity and work ethic.
“Calli has worked rigorously to come back from a very serious knee injury,” Vasconcelos says. “We knew when we were recruiting her that she was going to be this type of player for us. She is a leader on and off the field, and we are very fortunate to have her as part of our program.”
Masters took eight shots on net during the tournament and made countless contributions on offense and helped solidify a defense that allowed only three goals throughout the tournament.
Leading the Lynx scoring attack in the title game was Chloe Kouyoumdjian ’22, a forward from La Canada, California, who scored the match’s first goal, and then found the back of the net again in the game’s final seconds. The three other Lesley goals were by Westborough, Massachusetts, midfielder Claire Hounslow ’22, Kerrie Larson ’22, a defender from Bristol, Rhode Island, and St. Louis, Missouri, midfielder Emily Winkels ’25.
"The reason for our success as a program has always been all about our student athletes,” says Vasconcelos, who opened this season with his 200th win as coach. “We have some of the most talented, dynamic players in the country play for us year in and year out."