In the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women’s soccer tournament, the Lasers defeated the Colby-Sawyer Chargers 4-0 Saturday on Taylor Field.
Head coach Vito LaFrancesca notched his 200th career win with the win. LaFrancesca has been the head coach of the Lasers for 15 seasons and guided them to eight GNAC titles and appearances in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Women’s Soccer tournament. In 2019, his lone losing season (9-11), the Laser achieved an 8-5 conference record and reached the GNAC semifinals.
“This means more to me because of the number of amazing players that came through,” LaFrancesca said. “This is not my day; This is the alumni’s day; it’s everyone’s day. It’s the alumni’s day, it’s the players’ day, and they’ve all worked hard to achieve all this.”
Scoring began five minutes in when first-year Sarah Lynch, running down the left wing, played a ball back to graduate student Serena Speight at the top of the box. Speight fired a ball past the keeper's outstretched glove into the top right corner. Her first of a brace, Speight thundered home a header from five yards off a set piece by sophomore Michelina D’Agostino.
“I count my blessings [Speight] came back for a fifth year,” LaFrancesca said. “She’s just a difference out there.”
The Lasers succeeded from set pieces, including multiple short corner routines, which gave Speight further scoring opportunities. “We knew they played deep inside the 18 [yard box], so we decided to put in a couple plays that were played short,” LaFrancesca said. “Obviously, it triggered a lot of opportunities which worked today.”
The Lasers added two more goals in the second half. For the first, senior Alexys Suojanen found first-year Camdyn LaMarre on a back-post run for a tap-in. Five minutes later, senior Bobbi O’Guin connected with Lynch for her eighth goal of the season.
The Lasers will face Albert Magnus Tuesday in the semi-finals. The Falcons are hot off an upset victory over Emmanuel College in the quarter-finals.
“Every game is different. We take it game by game,” LaFrancesca said. “I think we all have the same 50-50 chance, right? It’s any given day.”