Lasell College soccer player Bridget Lynch collected a loose ball that dropped at her feet. She stormed forward, drawing Emerson goalie Allie Altman off the goal line, forcing her to come several feet forward into the penalty area to make a save.
Aggressive play by the Lasers allowed Lasell several scoring chances, which it took advantage of in its 3-1 win over Emerson on Saturday afternoon at Rotch Field.
The away team opened the game with a goal 10 minutes in. During this time, Lynch and several other Lasell players crowded close to the Emerson goal, creating confusion. It was Lynch who netted the ball, putting the Lasers on the scoreboard.
“They were really physical, they weren’t giving up on any balls,” said freshman defender Riana Odin, who put four shots on goal in the game. “They were quick to attack.”
Lasell’s scrappy playing also created opportunities for the away team. Though the Lasers only put three more shots on goal than the Lions, they saw many more open looks than their opponents.
The Lasers lofted the ball over the Lions’ heads, putting it out of the reach of Emerson defenders. They scored their second goal five minutes later.
“They had a strategy that we hadn’t seen before, that we hadn’t played before this season,” said freshman Alyssa Giannone. “They went over the top instead of passing [the ball] through defenders. We have a weakness, so that put us at a disadvantage.”
Giannone scored Emerson’s goal on penalty kick after a Lasell handball, bringing the score to 2-1. She said she hoped her goal would create a spark for her team going into the second half.
“I thought it was a good chance for us to raise up the morale,” said the midfielder. “I mean, we tried our hardest, we really did. We came together as a team, but sometimes there are teams that are just that much better.”
Throughout the second half, the Lasers kept up their physical play by continuing to push the Lions off the ball and pull at their jerseys. Lasell doubled Emerson’s number of fouls, committing eight over the 90 minutes.
Lynch notched her second goal of the night on an open look in front of the home net, where she was unguarded by Emerson defenders. The goal increased her team’s lead to 3-1, the score the Lasers would hold on to for the win.
Both players and head coach David Suvak said they knew that it was going to be a tough game going in.
“They’re a very aggressive, fast team, and they play fast soccer,” Suvak said. “We struggled with their speed up top.”
The loss was Emerson’s first of the season in conference play, bringing the team to 6-2-2 overall and 4-1-2 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. With the win, Lasell maintained its undefeated conference record, moving to 7-0. The Lasers are 9-1 on the season.
Though three of the Lions’ previous games went into double overtime, players said that they weren’t fatigued heading into Saturday’s matchup.
“We were really, really pumped for this game,” said sophomore forward Jaime Toscano. “We wanted to come out with a win.”
Looking ahead, Giannone said the Lions want to put the loss behind them and focus on the rest of their season, including another conference matchup against Emmanuel College on Oct. 6.
“There’s a purple banner in the Bobbi Brown Gym that says, ‘GNAC Champions,’” said Giannone. “[Suvak] tells us to keep that banner in the back of our minds at all times and play for that banner. We just want to win.”
Grady can be reached at email@example.com.