A victory during Tuesday afternoon’s home match against the Albertus Magnus Falcons sent the women’s soccer team to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship for the tenth time in their last eleven seasons.
While making it to the finals has been a near regularity for the Lasers in the last decade and a half, head coach Vito LaFrancesca has taken his team to a new level this year by working extra hard to prepare for any opponent that came their way.
After the game, LaFrancesca said the key to success was stretching the Falcons’ defense.
“We knew that [the Falcons] love to play down the middle and had some key players that were going to play over the top,” said LaFrancesca. “[We] executed the plan correctly,” he added.
The Lasers, who managed three goals on fifteen shots (six on goal) compared to the zero goals on eight shots (4 on goal) by the Falcons, got on the board early thanks to graduate student Serena Speight.
In the 20th minute of the game, senior midfielder Bobbi O’Guin pushed the ball upfield. Using her left foot, O’Guin was able to cross the ball into the box. As it trickled past a group of Falcon defenders, Speight rushed to the ball and hit a one-timer into the back of the net.
LaFrancesca, who has been particularly impressed by the forward in her last two games, says Speight’s leadership is what makes her especially valuable to the team.
“We are proud to have her,” said LaFrancesca.
During the 23rd minute of play, the Lasers tacked on to their 1-0 lead. A cross from sophomore midfielder Michelina D’agostino led to an errant act from the goalie who could not stay on her feet while making a push save in the air. Freshman forward Sarah Lynch found herself in the right place at the right time as she punched it in from about five yards in front of a nearly open net.
With a 2-0 advantage entering the final minute of the first half, the Lasers almost capitalized on an incredible sequence. O’Guin managed to seal off her defender, turn left with the ball at her feet, and speed down the sideline. Using her right foot this time, she crossed the ball to sophomore forward Priscilla Martinelli, who also managed to keep herself between the ball and a Falcon defender, turn towards the net, and attempt a shot that went just right of the net.
In the second half, the Lasers’ defense played just as well as they did in the first half, giving their senior goalkeeper, Kyli Swann, an easy day at the office.
With just under fifteen minutes to play, Speight found herself, once again, in the Falcons’ goalie box following a cross from sophomore defender Julia Vaillancourt, who stole the ball and made a run down the left sideline. Speight put the nail in the coffin of the Falcons with a perfectly placed shot in the bottom left corner of the goal that rolled past the goalkeeper’s outstretched arms.
The Lasers will move on to face the Johnson and Wales Wildcats at 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 5th. When asked about his game plan for the championship match, LaFrancesca had just a few words:
“We’re going to give them hell.”