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Keefe’s Late Equalizer Not Enough as Saints Drop GNAC Title Game in PKs

Tori Laroche snatches a cross to prevent a Lasell scoring chance in Saturday's GNAC Championship. Photo: Curtis Fraser '16

Tori Laroche snatches a cross to prevent a Lasell scoring chance in Saturday’s GNAC Championship.
Photo: Curtis Fraser ’16

For the first 85 minutes of Saturday’s GNAC women’s soccer championship game, it looked like we may never see a goal in a rematch of last season’s title game between the third-ranked Saints and the top seed from Lasell College.

And then it appeared the Lasers had the game won, breaking the scoreless tie with just 4:51 remaining in regulation.

And then it was right back to where it had started, as Emmanuel found the equalizer right away, but redemption just wasn’t meant to be. All five Lasell shooters scored in the penalty kick shootout that followed a scoreless overtime, giving the Lasers their sixth consecutive GNAC women’s soccer title.

The two sides went back and forth all afternoon long. Both sides only had a small hand full of quality chances each, but both Emmanuel’s Tori Laroche and Lasell’s Sarah Laclair came up with huge stops. The score remained without a goal until Lasell freshman Carly Zdanek broke free past the Saints defense and drilled one over the on-charging Laroche (nine saves) into the top of the net, giving the Lasers a 1-0 lead with under five minutes to go in regulation. The goal ended Laroche’s program-record shutout streak at 571:09.

Emmanuel refused to go down quietly though, as just over two minutes later, junior Molly Keefe capitalized on a misplayed ball by Laclair (four saves), burying the ball in the vacant net to tie the score with just 2:46 remaining. The goal was the defensive-minded midfielder’s first collegiate goal.

Lasell outshot Emmanuel 7-0 in the two overtime periods, and Laroche made her biggest save of the day in the second overtime. A low shot drilled on cage by Zdanek forced Laroche to dive to her left and make a huge stop with her fingertips.

In the shootout, Lasell’s Erin Smith, Erika Badger, Bridget Munnelly, Sarah Quintal, and Sarah Jones all executed their penalty kicks, and despite conversions by Ari Cardillo, Maggie Carey, and Katelyn Fink, Laclair was able to come up with the stop on Molly Carey in the second round of kicks to solidify Lasell’s GNAC title.

In other Emmanuel athletics news this week, the women’s volleyball team saw their season come to an end this week with a loss in the respective GNAC semifinals. After a 3-0 sweep in the first round of the tournament for the women’s volleyball team over Anna Maria on Tuesday night, the fourth-seeded Saints traveled to Rivier, where they were swept in the GNAC semifinals 3-0. The Saints struggled on the evening, with a hitting percentage of just -.069 and only 14 kills as a team. The young Saints have a promising outlook for the future, with a solid core of players returning next season. The Saints will graduate four players, setter Shannon Dudley and outside hitters Danielle Rose, Brittany Tutalo, and Quincie Varin.

Posted by on November 8, 2015. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.