Release courtesy of Salem State Sports Information
SALEM, MASS. -- #4 Salem State defeated #5 MCLA 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament on Tuesday afternoon at Alumni Field. Meg McFarland (Dedham, Mass.) scored the go-ahead goal in the 63rd minute to help the Vikings advance to the semifinal round where they will face #1 seed Worcester State on Friday at 7:00 PM.
Salem State (10-7-1) controlled the tempo for most of the first half, outshooting the Trailblazers 7-1 for the half. Kelly Blanchard (Bridgewater, Mass.) posted her third goal of the season in the 18th minute as she broke behind the Trailblazers' defense and off a feed from Ashley Leboeuf (Dracut, Mass.) placed a shot from the box into the lower left corner. Shannon Higgins (Somerville, Mass.) nearly extended the lead for the Salem State in the 42nd minute, but her looping shot was tipped just above the crossbar by goalie Megan Richardson (Adams, Mass.) after a corner attempt.
The Vikings continued to pressure the Trailblazers (3-13) in the second half as they maintained possession on MCLA's side of the field. However, the Trailblazers finally capitalized when Brooke Mangiardi (Pittsfield, Mass.) converted a pass from Kayla Baker (Shrewsbury, Mass.) from four yards out on MCLA's second shot of the game, tying the score at 1-1.
The momentum sparked the Trailblazers, but a mishandle on a corner gave McFarland a wide-open net and the sophomore put Salem State back on top 2-1 in the 63rd minute. The Vikings just missed having a two-goal lead as Blanchard's shot from 22 yards out rang off the crossbar with 30 minutes left.
Needing one final push with less than 10 minutes to play, MCLA's Britt Whitford (Schagticoke, N.Y.) shot was tipped away after a corner by goalie Rebecca Sabino (Peabody, Mass.), keeping the score at 2-1.
Sabino made one save in the win for the Vikings, which outshot the Trailblazers 13-3. Richardson made seven stops for MCLA.