New London, Conn. – The Mitchell College women's soccer team used a late goal to come away with a 2-1 win over Becker College on Saturday afternoon in the regular season finale for each squad at Alumni Field.
Freshman Maariyah Lombardo (Middletown, Conn./Middletown) snapped a 1-1 tie in the 89th minute with her second goal of the day to put Mitchell (8-4-2 overall, 6-1-2 NECC) on top. With the win, the Mariners clinched the second seed and the right to host as many as two games in next week's NECC Championship. Becker (9-8-2 overall, 6-3-0 NECC) also qualified for the tournament but must wait until all this weekend's conference games are completed before learning its seed.
In a game that was played in a steady rain from the opening whistle, Mitchell took the lead in the 37th minute on Lombardo's first tally. Freshman Madeline Crow (Rockville, Md./Quince Orchard) sent a pass across the box that Becker goalkeeper Katherine Cormier (San Diego, Calif./Westview) tried to cut out. Cormier slid out and tipped the ball but couldn't stop it from connecting with Lombardo near the far post, and she finished into an open net for the game's first goal.
Trailing by a goal at the half, Becker came out and tied the game in the 60th minute on a 35-yard score off the foot of Jodi Theriault (Woodstock, Conn./Woodstock Academy). Morgan Hazen (Woodstock, Vt./Woodstock) crossed the ball from the left side to the middle of the field for Theriault, who unleashed a high-arching shot that caught the top-left corner of the goal for her 11th score of the season.
The game looked destined to go to extra time when senior Leslie Briggs (Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth) sent a pass up the right sideline to Lombardo, who used her speed to turn the corner against a defender. She then dribbled along the end line to the near post and slipped a shot to the right of the goalie that found the side netting for the go-ahead score. The pair of tallies increased her team-leading total to 12 on the season.
Mitchell finished with a 20-9 advantage in shots. Sophomore goalkeeper Kaylee Woodford (Niantic, Conn./Morgan School) finished with four saves while Cormier recorded seven for the Hawks.
The 2011 NECC Championship is slated to begin with quarterfinal games on Tuesday, November 1. The semifinals will be held on November 3 and the title game on November 5. All games will be played at the site of the highest seed. A complete schedule and pairings will be announced by the conference after the completion of all league contests