BOSTON, Mass.—Freshman Morgan Palma's (Halifax, Mass.) goal with 5:05 remaining in regulation, lifted #3 UMass Boston women's soccer past #6 Castleton University 1-0 in the Little East Conference Quarterfinal Round.
#3 UMass Boston 1, #6 Castleton University 0
(UMass Boston 13-6-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After a tense and extremely physical first 84 minutes, Palma put the Beacons on the board in the 85th minute. Fellow freshman Mary Jo Murphy (Worcester, Mass.) broke up Castleton's counter attack attempt and the ball deflected back into the box. Palma's first touch took her wide of the last defender and she looped a shot just over the hands of the Castleton keeper for a 1-0 edge at 84:55.
The goal sent UMass Boston to their second-straight Little East Conference Semifinal and seventh in the past eight seasons. UMass Boston will take on #2 Eastern Connecticut State University on Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the LEC Semifinals. The semifinals and finals will both be hosted by top-seeded Western Connecticut State University.
Palma's goal ended a tense affair, in which UMass Boston dominated possession and the chances but struggled to find their finishing touch.
In the opening 12 minutes, UMass Boston created several great chances, but Castleton keeper Loren Henderson was able to stop two header shots from Cal Pitts (Marshfield, Mass.) and then knocked away Jaclyn O'Grady's (Somers, Conn.) effort on a 1-on-1 with the keeper.
Castleton created their best chance of the first half and potentially the game, when a forward sent the ball to the back post but it was just ahead of an onrushing player-who was wide open at the back post.
UMass Boston continued to pressure the Spartans throughout the contest, but were stymied by Henderson who recorded seven saves on eight shots.
On the other side of the field, freshman Caroline Richards (Duxbury, Mass.) was forced to make just three saves in her first collegiate postseason appearance. A big part of Richards success was the play of her back line, as freshmen Kenya Wade (Cambridge, Mass.), Carlee Fahey (Kingston, Mass.), Murphy and junior Taylor Bilyak (Willington, Conn.) were able to cut down chance after chance for the visiting Spartans.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston outshot the Spartans 17-6 and earned an 8-3 edge in shots on goal. The Beacons also led 9-1 in corner kicks.
- Castleton was whistled for 13 of the 15 fouls in Tuesday night's contest.
- The Beacons improved to 3-0-0 all-time against Castleton. Tuesday's game was the first-ever meeting between the two programs that didn't go to overtime.
- Palma has now recorded goals in three of her past six contests and recorded the game-winning goal in two of those contests.
#3 UMass Boston will travel to Danbury, Connecticut this weekend in search of their second-ever LEC Tournament Title. The Beacons earned their first and only title in 2012.