NEWTON, Mass. – The Lasell College women's soccer team captured their fourth consecutive GNAC championship with a 6-1 victory over Suffolk University on Saturday afternoon at Taylor Field. The Lasers set a new program record with their 17th victory of the season as they improved their record to 17-3-1 with the victory while Suffolk slipped to 7-12-1 on the year.
Bridget Lynch (Dover, N.H.) netted a hat-trick, giving her 33 goals for the season and setting a new single season record, she also added an assist in the match. Kayla Lynch (Dover, N.H.) scored twice and assisted on two other goals and freshmen Megan Cullen (Amesbury, Mass.) chipped in a goal for the Lasers. Leah Pappalardo (Whitman, Mass.) made three saves in the victory recording her 14th win of the year.
Taylor Miranda (Smithtown, N.Y.) scored the lone goal of the match for Suffolk and Melissa Brouillette (Shelton, Conn.) made eight saves on the afternoon.
Lasell nearly got on the board in the fourth minute of the match but Bridget Lynch saw her shot from the top of the 6-yard box slide just wide of the post. Suffolk responded with a chance of their own in 16th minute when a header by Suffolk's Miranda finished wide of the goal preventing the visitors from taking an early lead.
Lasell went in front in the 40th minute when Kayla Lynch scored on a feed from Bridget Lynch to give their side a 1-0 lead. Lasell took that 1-0 lead into the break despite out-shooting Suffolk 13-1 during the opening 45 minutes.
The Lasers broke the game open in the second half, with Bridget Lynch getting her first of the afternoon after a corner kick by Devin Day (Hartford, Vt.) came to Mackenzie Kingman (E. Bridgewater, Mass.) who touched it to Bridget, setting up the program's all-time leading scorer for the goal. Bridget scored again on a feed from Kayla to put Lasell in front 3-0 on a goal that marked the second time in the contest that the twins connected. Kayla Lynch knocked in a failed clearance by Suffolk just over a minute later to make it 4-0, before goals by Cullen, scored on a long ball from Jill Greaney (Holyoke, Mass.), followed by Bridget Lynch's third goal of the match on a pass from Melissa Leonard (N. Brookfield, Mass.) gave Lasell a 6-0 lead.
''People forget what a key role Kayla plays for us'' said LaFrancesca, ''she may not score as often as Bridget but she played a part in four of our goals today and she readily accepts the challenge of dropping back and playing in the midfield. She's just one of those kids who finds a way to make winning plays.''
Miranda scored in the 89th minute for her 15th goal of the year to avoid the shutout, but a 32-6 deficit in shots was too much to overcome for Suffolk.
Coach LaFrancesca summed up the victory, saying 'I'm really happy for these kids, they've worked really hard all year and they've had a target on their back in this league from day one. For them to handle the pressure of chasing a fourth straight conference championship and come out on top just shows what a special group this is.'
Bridget Lynch was named the tournament Most Valuable Player after scoring five goals in the three tournament games. The All-Tournament team featured Lasell's Kayla Lynch, Jamie Osterberg (Monroe, Conn.), Jill Greaney, and Arianna DiOrio (Revere, Mass.) as well as Suffolk's Taylor Miranda, Megan McHale (Halifax, Mass.) and Gabrielle Balestrier (Mohnton, Pa.). They were joined by Brianna Hayes (Manorville, N.Y.) and Ali Berkman (Natick, Mass.) from Simmons and Arianna Cardillo (Richmond, Mass.) and Darcey Sullivan (Dalton, Mass.) from Emmanuel College.
Lasell will await the NCAA tournament announcement on Monday afternoon to see who they'll face in the tournament's opening round.
*Release courtesy of Lasell College Sports Information Dept.