Lasell Pulls Away, 3-1, Stops Amherst in First Round

Contact: Matthew Hart

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AMHERST, Mass. – Bridget Lynch ’15 scored a pair of goals and Ashley Parrelli ’13 made 11 saves in net as the Lassell College women’s soccer team jumped ahead early and pulled away for a 3-1 victory over Amherst College in NCAA first-round play Saturday.

Lasell improved to 14-4-1 with the win and advances to play Brandeis in a second-round match Sunday at Hitchcock Field. Amherst’s season ends at 13-2-2 with the setback.

Molly Masiero ’16 opened the scoring for the Lasers, striking in the 22nd minute. Lynch’s two goals in the second half gave Lasell a 3-0 cushion before Amanda Brisco ’14 sent in the lone Amherst tally in the 83rd.

Controlling possession early, Amherst’s first strong opportunity came two minutes in when Kathryn Nathan ’13 found Brisco in space from 15 yards out on the right side, but her hard shot was right at Parelli.

Lasell nearly got on the board in the 22nd when Kayla Lynch ’15 beat the Amherst defense to a through ball but center back Sandy Shepherd ’13 flew in for a last-minute tackle.

Just seconds later, the Lasers drew first blood, with Mary Kate Dunphy ’13 finding Masiero in the box for a clean header into the right netting.

In a key loss for Amherst, Shepherd was injured on the play and would not return to the match.

With play evening out, Amherst found a strong opportunity in the 26th. Nathan played Brisco on the right side and the junior found an opening near the edge of the six-yard box, but Parrelli raced out for a sliding tackle to preserve the Lasell lead.

In the 32nd, Parrelli again kept her team on top, making a pair of saves in rapid succession including a diving stop of Nathan’s shot from the left side.

Amherst had one more strong chance in the waning moments of the first half when Brisco was fouled just above the 18-yard box. Taking the free kick, Nathan blasted it off the Lasell wall, with the deflection caroming off the right post. The look gave Amherst a 9-4 shot advantage but Parrelli’s six first-half saves kept the visitors ahead at intermission.

Lasell nearly found insurance in the 52nd when Kayla Lynch played her sister in space, and Bridget Lynch beat the Amherst defense for a breakaway. Jeff keeper Holly Burwick ’16 was up to the task, however, staying balanced and deflecting the attempt.

Just two minutes later, however, the Lynches combined again, this time successfully. Kayla Lynch found space on the right side then sent it into a crowded box, where sister Bridget was able to get a clean shot past Burwick for a 2-0 Lasell lead.

Amherst found a great look in the 62nd when a long cross from Brisco found Chloe McKenzie ’14 with room to operate on the right side, but her promising shot flew just over the crossbar.

Amherst nearly struck again in the 67th when a beautiful Nathan corner found the head of Jessy Hale ’16, but Parrelli turned in another gem, batting away the attempt to keep the Jeffs off the board.

Just a minute later, Lasell made it comfortable for themselves. Pushing the ball past midfield, Bridget Lynch snuck past the Amherst defense and carried it into the box, this time beating Burwick with a low shot into the middle of the net.

Pushing hard in hopes of a miraculous comeback, Amherst finally struck in the 83rd when Brisco beat a defender and Parelli to a bouncing ball on the left side of the net and finished it high into the netting for her ninth of the year.

Amherst’s late attacks led to a 21-10 shot advantage over the match, but Parelli’s strong work quieted numerous Jeff attempts. Burwick finished with three saves for Amherst, while the Jeffs held a 6-2 edge in corners.

With the loss, Amherst bids farewell to a decorated senior class that posted a remarkable 54-14-5 record over four years in Purple and White. The Jeffs will sorely miss the contributions of Nathan and Shepherd, along with Emily Little, Drew Douglas-Steele, and Bridget Keller. The group won a NESCAC title in 2011 and qualified for the NCAA Championships three times, advancing to the sectional finals a year ago during a sparkling 20-1 campaign.

Lasell moves on to face a Brandeis squad that notched a dramatic 2-1 overtime win over Union College in the day’s second match. Brandeis and Lasell have already met this season, with the Judges prevailing, 3-1, on Oct. 23.

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