BOSTON, Mass. – An Aly Clarke free kick goal in the 80th minute spoiled what was a dramatic second half turnaround for women's soccer as they were edged by Eastern Connecticut State University by the final of 4-3 Tuesday evening at James Cotter Field.
UMass Boston 3, Eastern Connecticut State University 4
UMass Boston (7-5-1, 2-2-1 Little East Conference)
Eastern Connecticut State (8-4-0, 4-1-0 Little East Conference)
HOW IT HAPPENED
In truly a tale of two halves, Eastern Connecticut looked as if they were going to run away with Tuesday's conference match as they jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead in the first 15 minutes of the opening half.
With the Beacons back on their heals heading into the break, the comeback kids showed what they were made of in the second half. Just like the Warriors in the first half, the Beacons scored immediately with Grace McGettrick (Marshfield, Mass.) tapping in a loose ball in the box to cut ECSU's lead to two. Less than eight minutes later Grace Oliver (Rockland, Mass.) added her name to the scoresheet off a perfectly placed pass by Lindsay Bouscaren (Cambridge, Mass.) to make it a one-goal game with plenty of time remaining on the scoreboard.
Nine minutes later, Bouscaren knotted the game at 3-3 in what was her best game of the season by far. With the ball bouncing in the box neither team was able to connect for either a shot or a clear. Bouscaren who was sitting to the left of the goal, found the ball on her foot with no one defending her. The transfer fired the ball to the far post to tie the score at three goals a-piece.
From there the two teams battled back and forth in what became a highly physical and intense contest. The Warriors could have taken an early 4-3 lead on a penalty kick attempt, but were denied by Caroline Richards (Duxbury, Mass.), who was making her collegiate debut. The freshman stopped Clark on the PK attempt, and then denied the forward on a point blank rebound. Richards was unbelievable in her debut as she made four impressive saves to keep the score deadlocked at 3-3.
It was not until the later part of the second half that ECSU was able to strike for the game-winning goal. A foul right outside the box, set-up Clark who earlier in the contest ripped a shot from 25 yards out to give ECSU a 1-0 lead just two minutes into the contest.
The Warriors top goal scorer stepped up to the ball and went directly at goal. Her shot beat Richards up high to give ECSU the late lead. The Beacons would then go to panic mode as they tried to even the score for the second time. Despite multiple attempts by the offense, ECSU's defense along with keeper Kayla Labrecque held strong to earn the slim victory.
After Clarke's goal, it was Anna Manser who made it 2-0 in favor of the Warriors less than five minutes into the contest. Manser, who assisted on Clarke's goal, blasted a shot to the low post off of a Nikki Basilicato pass. Basilicato would continue the Warriors early offensive surge as she knocked in a loose ball to give the Warriors what they thought was a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Despite her performance, Richards was handed the loss, the first of her year. Abby McCulloch (Weymouth, Mass.) got the start for the Beacons and made one save in the first half. Labrecque improved to 4-4 with her seven save win.
BY THE NUMBERS
- In total the Beacons finished with 14 shots, while the Warriors recorded 18
- UMB did lead the match in shots on goal 10-9
- Combined there was 25 fouls in the contest
- The two teams were even in corner kicks with four each
- The Beacons three goals marked the most since their 2014 5-2 win over the Warriors in the semi-final round of the Little East Conference Tournament
- ECSU has now won five straight over the Beacons
The Beacons will travel to Plymouth State University on Saturday at 1 p.m. for a Little East Conference match.