BENNINGTON, Vt. – The Southern Vermont College women's lacrosse team is headed back to the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) semifinal round for the third-straight year as the third-seeded Mountaineers defeated No. 6 Mitchell College by a 16-4 margin Tuesday afternoon at Everett Field.
SVC went up 5-0 before going into the break with an eight-goal advantage. Southern Vermont held the Mariners to just two goals in each half to walk away with the first-round victory.
The Mountaineers (7-8 overall) will visit No. 2 Wheelock College on Thursday with a spot in the finals on the line; first draw is slated for 7 p.m. Mitchell ends the season with an overall mark of 4-9.
SVC's Alex Safford registered seven goals, an assist, eight ground balls and three caused turnovers. She moved up to second on Southern Vermont's single-season scoring list with 55 goals on the year. Paige Vitale notched a pair of scores, an assist, seven ground balls and two caused turnovers while Aubrey Vierstra chalked up two caused turnovers and a game-best nine ground balls.
Mitchell's Francesca Pinard had as many draw controls as Southern Vermont with nine, and she also posted six ground balls, three caused turnovers, two goals and two assists for a well-rounded day. Hannah Corrigan tied the team-best of seven ground balls while adding a goal and three caused turnovers to her line.
Mountaineer keeper Kelsey Carrera ensured that she will finish the season with at least a .500 winning percentage in net as she improved to 5-4 with four saves on the day. Gillian MacLellan totaled 18 stops in the loss (4-9) for the Mariners.
With a man advantage, Safford took a pass from Abigail Landon and buried it into the back of the cage to make it an early 2-0 advantage. Landon then scored her 11th of the season before Vitale capitalized on a free position shot as the Mountaineers notched the first five goals of the game. Pinard found Lindsey Fairbank in front of the goal for the Mariners to get on the board, but Safford responded with back-to-back scores to push the difference to six.
After Mitchell got its second of the game, Southern Vermont scored four unanswered going into the second half. Canterbury and Vitale each had a goal and an assist in that stretch. Pinard beat the keeper twice in the final 30 minutes, but Safford alone fired home three unassisted tallies to help her team stay comfortably in front and cruise into the semifinals.