WESTON, Mass. – Regis College, the second seed in the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Lacrosse Tournament, defeated third seed Lasell College, 15-14, Wednesday night in a semifinal match at Regis Stadium.
With the victory, Regis improves to 15-2 and advances to the championship match, where it will face top seed Johnson & Wales in Providence, R.I., Saturday, May 4, starting at 1 p.m. The Wildcats defeated fifth seed Simmons Wednesday night, 20-5, to reach the title contest. Lasell's season concludes with a 15-4 overall record.
It took almost 20 minutes of play for both offenses to start clicking, as the score was tied at 2-2 before Lasell scored three times in the span of 1:37, as goals by Kellie Matthews (Walpole, Mass.), Amanda DiLeonardo (West Haven, Conn.), and Jordan McComb (Cumberland, R.I.) put the Lasers ahead, 5-2. After the two teams scored two goals apiece, Regis closed out the first half with four straight goals, featuring two tallies by Brooke Ross (Hanover, Mass.), the second of which put the Pride on top at halftime, 8-7.
Vanessa Pino (Methuen, Mass.) scored consecutive goals 1:36 apart to put the Lasers back on top, 9-8, but Regis responded, led by three straight goals by Kerri Anselmo (Natick, Mass.) to go along with a tally by Rachel Nadeau (Coventry, Conn.), as the Pride pulled ahead, 12-9. After a free-position goal by McComb, Emily Kosak (Milton, Mass.) and Taylor Assarian (Arlington, Mass.) scored on free-position opportunities to extend the Regis advantage to 14-10 with 11:48 left in the second half.
Lasell rallied back, as Matthews and DiLeonardo scored two goals apiece in a span of just over five minutes. Matthews' goal off an assist by Kaeli Leddy (South Portland, Maine) tied the match at 14-14 with 3:10 remaining in regulation. The Lasers had two opportunities to pull ahead, but shots by DiLeonardo and Erin Kriger (Burlington, Mass.) were turned away by Regis goalie Brittany McPherson (Lynn, Mass.).
After gaining possession and calling timeout with 1:13 left in the second half, Regis put together a successful clear, and Anselmo proceeded to earn a free position attempt. Anselmo converted on that opportunity with 30 seconds remaining on the clock to put the Pride ahead. Kriger won the ensuing draw control for Lasell, but the Pride defense forced the Lasers to use a lot of time entering their offensive zone, and a last-ditch shot by DiLeonardo sailed wide.
Anselmo scored six goals in a match for the second time this season, plus she earned three ground balls, three draw controls, and three caused turnovers. Alyssa Kelly (Lee, Mass.) also notched a hat trick for the Pride with three goals to go along with an assist and four ground balls, while Kosak also collected three draw controls during the night.
Defensively for the Pride, Brooke Greatorex (Gorham, Maine) caused three Lasell turnovers and picked up two ground balls, and Meghan Sargent (Brattleboro, Vt.) earned three ground balls and two caused turnovers. McPherson finished with eight saves, five of them in the second half, as 22 of Lasell's 26 shots were on goal.
Four different Lasell players earned hat tricks, led by Pino with four goals. DiLeonardo and Matthews finished with three goals and one assist apiece, while McComb also scored three goals to go along with six draw controls.
The Laser defense was led by Caitie Grady (Southbury, Conn.) with five ground balls and three caused turnovers, as Lasell forced nine of Regis' 19 turnovers in the match. Lasell goalie Morgan Choquet (Woonsocket, R.I.) earned seven saves as the Pride took a total of 27 shots, including 22 shots on goal.
Regis and Johnson & Wales will be meeting for the second time in 11 days, as the two squads faced each other last Wednesday, April 24, to close out the regular season. The Wildcats defeated the Pride, 17-8, but the stakes for Saturday's rematch will be much higher, as the winner receives the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.