Women’s Soccer Battles to Tough 1-1 NECC Draw with Elms

dani biggers dribbles the ball

BENNINGTON, Vt. – A well-contested 110 minutes of New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's soccer action saw Southern Vermont College and Elms College play to a 1-1 draw through double overtime at Everett Field Saturday afternoon.

The Mountaineers got on the board with a strike in the 41st minute to bring a slim lead into halftime. SVC was eight minutes away from capturing its first-ever win over Elms, but the visitors found an equalizer in the 83rd minute before the game went to extra periods. Neither team could get into the back of the net in the 20 minutes of overtime for the match to end in a tie.

Southern Vermont moves to 8-4-1 overall on the year and 3-1-1 in league action; next up for the Mountaineers is a Tuesday road match at Becker College with that NECC kickoff slated for 7 p.m. The Blazers, who are now 10-5-1 on the season and 4-1-1 in the Conference, are back at it on Thursday when they visit Bay Path University for a 4 p.m. league start.

Saturday's result sees SVC tie the program record for the most consecutive games played without a loss—a mark of seven set by the 1996 squad which also went 6-0-1 in its run. It is also the first of 11 all-time meetings with the Blazers that EC has not defeated the Mountaineers.

Southern Vermont sophomore Taylor Mallett (Berwick, Maine) scored for the hosts as she ripped home a shot off of a backwards pass from freshman Jayne Wierzbicki (Wilmington, Vt.). Elms' goal came late in the game when senior Brie Voight (Springfield, Mass.) knocked home a rebound that resulted from a take by junior Danielle Asklar (Berlin, Conn.).

Mountaineer senior netminder Melissa Mascari (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) made seven saves in the draw (8-4-1) as EC sophomore counterpart Rebecca Molin (West Hartford, Conn.) turned away five SVC shots in the effort (10-5-1).

Right from the opening whistle, the action was tight as each team only put one shot on net in the first 20 minutes of play while the two sides figured out their attack. Elms would go on to take a 10-6 advantage in attempts through the opening half, but it would be the Mountaineers' final shot of the stanza that made the difference.

In the 41st minute of the game, a long ball towards the left corner saw Wierzbicki run on and beat her defender to it; she would take a touch into the box and one more before firing a shot at the near post, but Molin was there to deny the freshman. The ball bounced up and towards the back of the frame where Wierzbicki collected it, and she then sent a pass back towards the top of the box for Mallett to come on and fire her first touch into the left side of the cage for her fifth goal of the year.

After the 1-0 tally stood through intermission, both sides has quality looks at net through the opening five minutes of the second half. Wierzbicki nearly had an insurance goal right after play resumed when she took a breakaway all the way into the box, but Molin was able to come out and smother the last-second attempt to preserve Elms' one-goal deficit. Three minutes later at the other end of the pitch, EC had a great look off a square pass to senior Angelina Estrada (Springfield, Mass.) in the middle of the box—only to see Mascari come up with a diving save to her right.

There would be only one shot on goal through the next 30 minutes of action as the game went into the final stretch with the Mountaineers clinging to their edge. Elms knotted it up with just under eight minutes to go, however, when the Blazer offense cleaned up a rebound opportunity. EC took a free kick from the left side of the field, and it was sent in to the back of the box. After a quick couple of bounces, Asklar ripped a volley at the frame; Mascari made another outstanding, diving save, but Voight ran on and slammed home the second chance for her ninth goal of the year.

The two overtime periods saw just a pair of shots on net—the Blazers taking both of them with one in each stanza. Mascari denied the two attempts, however, for her team to continue its unbeaten streak.