NEW LONDON, Conn. – Second-seeded Mitchell College scored two second-half goals to escape seventh-seeded Southern Vermont College on Tuesday afternoon; in the first round of the 2011 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Women's Soccer Championship.
The underdog Mountaineers battled throughout the first half to keep the score deadlocked at zero. SVC held the reigning NECC champions to only three shots on goal in the first frame. However, Mitchell (9-4-2 overall) scored a pair of goals in the opening 5:34 of the second half to take control. Freshman Maariyah Lombardo (Middletown, CT) provided the game's first goal in the 47th minute, as she cleaned up a rebound in front of the goal. Mountaineer keeper Catrina Cecchini made the save on the initial shot from Nikki Hoxie, but couldn't hold on to it, and Lombardo finished into an open net for her team-leading 13th goal of the season.
The Mariners added another goal minutes later on a traffic jam inside the box. Senior Angie Smith (Meriden, CT) played a pass across the middle that was kicked around in front of the goal. Junior Rebecca Tabak (North Haven, CT) then broke through the pack and squeaked a shot over the goal line for her first goal of the season.
The Mountaineers continued to play solid defense in the second half and kept the score at 2-0. Southern Vermont's Krysten Runci (South Carroll, Md.) challenged goalkeeper Kaylee Woodford (Niantic, CT) twice, but neither shot found the frame. Woodford notched her seventh shutout of the season, as Cecchini finished with 13 saves for the Mountaineers.
The Mariners advance to the NECC semifinals and will host the winner of Elms College and Regis College on Thursday, November 3 at 2 p.m. Southern Vermont, which played in its first conference tournament since 1999, ended the season with an overall record of 3-11-0.