New England Soccer Today

Cream of the Crop

Breakers defender Taryn Hemmings pushes past Flash forward Adriana Martin Santamaria during Sunday’s regular season finale. (Photo: Mark Novak/Courtesy of the WNY Flash)

Elli Reed buried a 22nd minute goal to lift the Breakers to their first regular season title since 2003 with a 1-0 win over the Western New York Flash on Sunday.

With the win, the Breakers punched their ticket to a semi-final match against the fourth place Chicago Red Stars at 5pm on Jul. 25 at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, the site of this year’s WPSL Playoffs. The winner will advance to play the winner of the Flash and New York Fury on Jul. 28.

The Flash and Breakers entered Sunday’s match tied atop the table on points (30), but there was more than just first place at stake.

Earlier this year, the league stripped Boston of a 3-2 win over the Flash on May 26 for the use of an ineligible player in the match. So with that as the backstory, the Breakers were ready to take back three points on Sunday.

Reed put away the game’s only goal midway through the first half. The Flash was unable to clear a corner kick by Katie Schoepfer and Reed pounced on the loose ball for her first career Breakers goal.

“I saw Schoepfer play the ball short to D’Agostino, and Bianca played it back to Shep, and she hit in a really nice ball. The keeper got a hand on it, but then it hit another girl’s chest, and it was bobbling around, and I just hit it in,” Reed said. “It feels great, especially since it helped get us the (regular season) title. I’m very excited. There’s a good energy amongst the team, and we’re feeling good going into playoffs.”

The Breakers almost allowed a goal only seconds before Reed gave them the lead. A 20th minute corner kick by McCall Zarboni connected with Omolyn Davis, who flicked the ball toward the goal forcing Bianca D’Agostino to clear the ball off the line.

Most of the Flash’s best chances came in the opening 20 minutes, all of which Binns was able to parry away. The Breakers defense was also able to prevent the Flash from scoring off of set pieces, as they successfully dealt with 16 corner kicks.

The team’s cumulative defensive effort helped give Binns, who collected 10 saves, her sixth clean sheet of the season.

“She was big today,” coach Lisa Cole said of Binns. “She was focused.”

“It was obviously nervewracking because it’s all or nothing,” Binns said. “I was really excited to play for the league (title) up against some really good players. My defense did so many good things. Everyone contributed. It wasn’t just one person.”

The Breakers ended the regular season with an 11-3-0 record (33 points), the most wins in a season in franchise history. The previous record was ten, which the Breakers achieved (2003 and 2010).

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