Capitalizing on a defensive mishap, top-seeded Lesley University defeated second-seeded New England College in the New England Collegiate Conference Women's Soccer championship match Saturday evening by a score of 3-2.
It is the second straight NECC championship for the Lynx, whose head coach, Paul Vasconcelos, credited their consistency and drive.
“This team has been consistent throughout the season and has a relentless spirit about them,” Vasconcelos said. “They always feel they are in every match.”
Saturday’s match was a struggle from the get-go, with no score through the first quarter of play, until Henniker, N.H.-based New England College broke the ice midway through the first half. According to published game notes, Pilgrims player Emily LePage got control of a loose ball after a sliding save by Lynx goaltender Brittley Gaan, a freshman from Bellevue, Wash., booting it into the net for the match’s first score.
But the Lynx battled back, keeping Pilgrims netminder Kayla Pugliese diving, until the Lynx netted two goals within the span of four minutes — the second knocked in by a Pilgrim defender misplaying a corner kick. The first Lesley goal was by Samantha Bessey, a senior from Algonquin, Ill.
Later, senior Rachel Buckley, a San Diego native, buried the third goal for the Lynx, who gave up one more goal, but held on for the win, and bragging rights at back-to-back champions.
“To repeat as a conference champion is no small feat,” Vasconcelos said. “The NECC is considerably stronger than in years past.”
Vasconcelos went on to applaud his squad as “a wonderful group of dynamic young women who exude confidence.”