September 24, 2012

Game of the Week: Wheaton Edges Women's Soccer 5-4

NORTON, Mass.—In a dramatic back-and-forth contest between two of the top programs in New England, Wheaton College (7-0-2) edged UMass Boston (8-1) 5-4 in overtime at Marrione Stadium.

After a slow first half, the two teams traded blows over the first 25 minutes of the second half with seven combined goals and the Beacons fighting back from two separate two-goal deficits, 2-0 and 4-2.

Senior forward Cassey Muse ended the thriller with a goal at the 95:56 mark to end one of the most remarkable and surprising contests of the season.

Sophomore forward Krista Ledin (Bridgewater, Mass.) led the Beacons in scoring with a goal and an assist, while Tayla Andrews (Plymouth, Mass.), Amanda Pugliese (Pembroke, Mass.) and Dani Beane (Exeter, N.H.) each added a marker as well.

Junior forward Julie Nutting (Rockland, Mass.) had one of her best games of the season on her birthday, playing extended minutes and picking up an assist.

Goalie Kristen Spain (Quincy, Mass.) took the loss (7-1) despite making nine saves, including several huge stops when the Beacons were trailing. The sophomore stopped shots from Cat Amick and Shelby Benoit from point-blank range late in the first half to keep the score at 1-0 Lyons.

Freshman Ali Hinton picked up the win by playing 4:56 and not making a save. Hinton came on in relief of freshman Taylor Wilson who gave up four goals in regulation.

Coming into the game, the two teams had allowed just 10 combined goals in 16 games and were on a combined seven-game shutout streak.

The #16th ranked Lyons held the advantage through the first half with a 1-0 lead and the majority of the possession and chances. Sophomore Gabriella Verde took a pass from Muse and sent a bouncing shot past Spain from 10 feet out to make it 1-0 16 minutes into the game. Verde would end the game with four points on one goal and two assists.

Verde's goal ended Kristen Spain's scoreless streak at 336 minutes and 38 seconds.

If the first half was slow and one-sided, the second half was anything but. The two teams scored four goals in the first 14 minutes and on two separate occasions, goals were scored less than 30 seconds apart.

Wheaton's Julia Cipriano started off the scoring when she made it 2-0 on a pass from Muse 63 seconds into the second half. 

UMass Boston would answer exactly 30 seconds later. Pugliese created a turnover in the Wheaton defense zone and sent a high-sailing shot from 40 yards out just over the hands of Wilson to make it 2-1.

The Beacons would tie at two in the 50th minute, as Beane received the ball on the right-side of the goalie box and sent a low shot towards the near post. Wilson appeared to make the save initially, but the ball trickled out of her hands and just across the goal line to make it 2-2 at the 50:10 mark.

The tie would last less than four minutes as Muse found her first marker of the day off a quick restart. After a Beacons foul just outside the goal box, the Lyons took a quick restart and Verde found Muse all alone on the right-side of the box. The All-NEWMAC player lined up a high-shot that easily beat Spain to make it 3-2.

Lauren Corigliano appeared to put the game away in the 68th minute when she made it 4-2 off a pass from Verde, but the Beacons were just beginning their comeback antics. 

Less than 30 seconds after the score, Andrews received a pass in the box with a defender on her back; the junior swiftly turned around and ripped a right-footed shot that Wilson could only get her finger-tips on to make it 4-3.

Seventy-five seconds later it was Ledin that notted the game at 4. Nutting provided a through-ball into the box between two defenders and the keeper but Ledin would prove to be the only player to touch the ball. The sophomore tracked down the ball and with one touch dribbled by the goalie and in on net by herself to score her Little East Conference leading 11th  goal of the season.

The final 20 minutes and 10 seconds were tilted in the Lyons favor, as Wheaton attempted five corner kicks but the Beacons withstood every effort. Caitlin Coleman (Willimantic, Conn.) and Alli Modzelewski (Newtown, Conn.) led the back-line, as the pair cleared away each wave of attacking Lyons. 

After a five-minute intermission, the two teams returned to the field with both teams getting good looks at the beginning of the overtime session. Wheaton attempted two more corner kicks, while Ledin nearly ended the game with a high strike that went just barely over the crossbar.

In the end it was Muse tracking down a ball after a collision in the Beacons box that proved to be the difference. The senior finished with two goals and two assists on the day.

UMass Boston became just the fourth team in 16 years to score four goals against Wheaton under head coach Luis Reis. The Beacons eight-game winning streak to begin the season set a new program-record, surpassing the previous mark of six games.

UMass Boston will look to begin a new winning streak when they host the University of Southern Maine Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Clark Athletic Field.