No. 3 SVC Clipped 2-1 at No. 2 Elms in NECC Women's Soccer Semifinals

paige vitale dribbles the ball

CHICOPEE, Mass. – A goal from the hosts with 4:50 to go in regulation saw the Southern Vermont College women's soccer season come to an end Wednesday evening as the third-seeded Mountaineers fell 2-1 to No. 2 Elms College in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) semifinal at Leary Field.

SVC went in front midway through the opening half when the visitors capitalized on a corner kick in the 24th minute. The Mountaineers' 1-0 edge lasted through intermission and the first 20 minutes of the second period before the Blazers tied it up with their first strike. Overtime was drawing closer and seemed imminent, but EC found the back of the net once more to go on top and close out the triumphant victory.

Southern Vermont finishes the season with a record of 12-5-1—that .694 winning percentage being the program's best ever.

Mountaineer sophomore Taylor Jarosz (Troy, N.Y.) headed home her first of the year for SVC's goal—being assisted by classmate Ashley Blom (Manorville, N.Y.) from the corner.

Southern Vermont senior keeper Melissa Mascari (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) made six saves in the loss (12-5-1); she finishes her time between the pipes for the Mountaineers with an overall record of 37-30-5 to chart a .549 career winning percentage—breaking the team's all-time mark of .534 set by Hall of Famer Thalia Smith '00 (29-25-5). Mascari also finished with a career goals against average of 1.28 to conclude her collegiate tenure with that team record—in addition to SVC's all-time high marks of career wins (37), shutouts (26), and saves (552). Her 0.60 GAA this year was the best ever for a single season as it topped Smith's 1996 mark of 0.92.

Elms was awarded six corner kicks in the opening 20 minutes of action, but it would then be Southern Vermont's first that made a difference on the scoreboard. Blom hit the piece from the right side of the pitch, and Jarosz got off her feet in the middle of the box to head home her first collegiate tally. She was the 16th SVC player to score a goal this year out of the team's 18 members.

Mascari made three saves in the rest of the first half to help bring her team into the break with its slim upper hand. Shortly after play resumed, the Mountaineers came inches from extending their lead when freshman Jayne Wierzbicki (Wilmington, Mass.) got in behind the Elms defense and fired a shot which rang off the left post before caroming away to the relief of the Blazer faithful.

EC pushed to get on the board with the team's season just 25 minutes away from coming to an end. That's when the Blazers tied it up when a ball was sent in from the right side and made its way through the SVC defense; another one of the hosts got on the other end of it, took a few touches into the box, and slotted a shot into the bottom-right corner of the frame during the 66th minute.

Neither side put a shot on goal in the next 19 minutes as it seemed like the match was going to go to extra sessions. Elms would change that, however, as a Blazer wound up and fired a take from about 30 yards out in the middle of the pitch; it got in past the SVC keeper for the hosts to celebrate what would end up being the game winner. Southern Vermont tried to work the ball into the EC end of the field in the final minutes, but the Blazers were able to clear it away each time to secure their fifth-straight NECC finals appearance.