Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Elms College women's soccer team fell behind early to host Western New England in a 3-1 road loss in a non-conference game at Supreant Soccer Field Tuesday afternoon.
The squads used the opening minutes to get a feel for each other with back-and-forth play. In the tenth minute of play, Western New England had a corner kick opportunity, where senior Tayler Mazurski lofted a ball towards the back post where junior defender Erica Parlavecchio headed the ball of the inside post, where it trickled past Elms junior goalkeeper Alexa Rinaudo (Bellmore, N.Y.), to stake the Golden Bears to a 1-0 lead. Less than four minutes later, déjà vu struck for the Blazers as Mazurski sent another corner kick to the front of the goal where Parlavecchio battled through a scrum and knocked into the back of the net, extending the Western New England lead to 2-0 with 31:04 to play in the first half. The Golden Bears maintained their 2-0 lead the remainder of the half.
With 35:37 to play, the Golden Bears put the Blazers in a 3-0 hole as Mazurski raced down the sideline towards the corner, then cut across the goal line and delivered a cross to the foot of junior Emma Norden, who placed a one-touch shot past Rinaudo.
The Blazers spoiled Western New England's bid for a shutout with less than two minutes to play as sophomore defender Kylen O'Hearn (Somers, Conn.) launched a free kick into the Golden Bears box, where it took one bounce between defenders and found freshman midfielder Jackie Soucia (Belchertown, Mass.), who ripped a shot into the back of the goal, cutting the Golden Bears lead to eventual final score of 3-1.
"Anytime you give up two early goals, it's tough to come back," said Elms Head Coach Sean Milbier. "We gave up two goals on two consecutive corner kicks and that's something we'll have to work on. I'm proud of our effort. Our effort is always there, we just need to play a little smarter, work on our system, and work on defending corner kicks. I think for our team right now, it's very important to score the first goal., and we conceded the first goal in most of our matches, and it's hard to play from behind. We scored one late, which I'm proud of, but we have some things to work on. I thought we possessed the ball, but it's about that final pass. Through the midfield, we did a good job, but I think that final pass, linking up with the players up top needs to be better. Our number one thing today was effort, we didn't give up, even down 3-0 we kept fighting. The players on the bench stayed positive and the team stayed positive. We just need to get back to work tomorrow."
The Blazers outshot the Golden Bears, 12-9, during the contest. Rinaudo stopped four shots from Elms, while Western New England junior keeper Briana Kubik made a game-high five saves in the win.
Elms moved to 1-5 on the season, while Western New England improved to 3-4-2 overall. The Blazers will return to the pitch in the NECC Conference opener at Regis on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.