Called back to the pitch,
Parrelli starred for Lasell
When Ashley Parrelli (right) was hanging out at Burke’s Beach in the Green Harbor section of Marshfield last summer, soccer was the last thing on her mind.
Her memories of playing goal at Marshfield High and then two seasons at Lasell College were fading quickly.
Little did she realize that, come October, she’d be donning goalie gloves once again and be vying for a national championship.
Parrelli walked away from college soccer after her sophomore season at Lasell to spend more time on her studies.
The move certainly wasn’t due to a lack of success on the playing field.
As a sophomore, Parrelli saw action in 10 games, making seven starts and compiling a 5-0-2 record with two shutouts. She posted a tidy 0.94 goals-against average and earned Goalkeeper of the Week honors from the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Soccer Association.
“There was a lot to the decision,’’ said Parrelli, a 2009 graduate of Marshfield High.
“At the time I really wanted to focus more on my classes and my future. I decided I wanted to work a little more and I just felt like I was done with the game and that my time was up. I wanted to focus on my future.’’
Parrelli, an advertising and communications major, did not know that her future would include returning to the soccer pitch as a senior.
The Lasers were hit with several injuries early this season and were down to one goalie, Whitman-Hanson Regional graduate Leah Pappalardo. That prompted Lasell coach Vito La Francesca to approach Parrelli about returning to the team.
“I was content with my decision, but I did miss the team and being with the girls,’’ said Parrelli. “I missed the excitement and the adrenaline rush from games. The coaches and I joke about me relaxing on the beach in August, and two months later being on the soccer field.’’
Parrelli made her season debut in Lasell’s 12th game of the season, a key 2-1 victory over Great Northeast Athletic Conference foe Albertus Magnus. She was 4-0-2 during the regular season and GNAC playoffs with two shutouts, helping the Lasers to capture a third consecutive GNAC title and a spot in the NCAA Division 3 tournament.
“It took Ashley about two weeks to get back in shape and get her speed back for goalie situations,’’ said La Francesca. “We started giving her some playing time right before the playoffs. She played the second game of the GNAC playoffs and had a tremendous game against Emmanuel. At that point we decided to go with her, and she had another amazing game against Simmons,’’ a 2-0 shutout in the GNAC championship game.
Parrelli made 11 saves in Lasell’s first-round win over Amherst, the school’s first NCAA victory in any sport. Ironically, her only career collegiate loss came in Sunday’s 3-0 setback to Brandeis in the second round of the NCAA tourney.
“It was a very bittersweet weekend,’’ said Parrelli, who finished her career with a 10-1-4 record.
“Our goal for the season was to win a first-round game in the NCAAs and we accomplished that, so we’re very proud. But it would have been nice to have had another game.’’
During the goaltending crisis, Pappalardo more than held down the fort for the Lasers, starting 13 games and earning three shutouts, posting a 10-4 record with a 1.10 GAA.
“Leah was awesome for us,’’ said La Francesca. “She didn’t see any action at all last year, but worked really hard over the summer. We wouldn’t have been where we were if it wasn’t for Leah. In the end, we just decided to go with the hot goaltender.’’
Wareham’s Marykate Dunphy anchored the Lasell defense and also contributed four assists. “She is one of the reasons we were so successful back on defense, and she will be truly hard to replace,’’ said La Francesca.
Lasell also received solid contributions from Marshfield’s Emily Machado , a senior midfielder, and Sarah Jones , a freshman defender from Duxbury. Machado started 12 games and returned from an injury to see action in the playoffs. Jones was the first player off the bench for the Lasers and played in 18 games.
Lasell’s victory over Amherst marked the end of a stellar career for Kathryn Nathan, one of the best playmakers to ever suit up for the Lord Jeffs. The senior from Pembroke had five goals and 11 assists, which led the NESCAC. She finished with 24 goals and 23 assists over four seasons.
Defense powers rise
of Framingham State
The Framingham State football team is making its first appearance in the NCAA Division 3 playoffs on the strength of a formidable defense ranked second nationally, yielding just 212.55 yards per game.
The anchor is James Muirhead , a 6-foot, 255-pound senior defensive tackle from Middleborough who was voted the Defensive Player of the Year in the New England Football Conference’s Bogan Division.
In the NEFC Championship game Saturday, Muirhead racked up eight tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble in a 28-16 win over Salve Regina to lock up MVP honors. He leads the Rams (10-1) and the conference with 10.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. He has 77 tackles on the season, including 20 for minus yardage. FSU plays at Cortland State in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday.
“James as always was our catalyst,” said Framingham State coach Tom Kelley. “He’s a high-energy player that is relentless in tracking down the ball. James sets the tone for our defense.”
Coast Guard Academy
is ECAC champion
The Coast Guard Academy men’s soccer team enjoyed an emotional victory over Roger Williams in the ECAC championship game on Sunday. The Bears dedicated their season to Thomas Cameron, a 2008 graduate who lost his life in a training mission in 2012. Fittingly, the Academy won the ECAC title on Veterans Day. They also won the ECAC championship in 2008 during Cameron’s senior year. Greg Kennerley, a senior from Weymouth, was chosen to wear Cameron’s No. 12 jersey this season. A senior defender, Kennerley scored five goals and had four assists for a team-high 14 points.