The University of Maine Women’s soccer team (1-2-1) traveled to Smith Soccer Stadium in Worcester, Mass. on Thursday evening, looking to pick up their first win of the season against the Holy Cross Crusaders (1-3).
The match proved to be another defensive tilt for the Black Bears, who didn’t find the back of the net until the 84th minute of the game. They finally broke the scoreless tie when second-year midfielder Kayla Brace scored on a pass from fellow second-year midfielder Nicole Bailey. It was the first goal of Brace’s career, and it came at crucial point in the contest.
“I was very happy to have scored my first goal as a Black Bear. It was really nice to be surrounded by lively, positive energy,” Brace said.
Brace received Bailey’s pass from the left corner of the field and was able to score from the inside edge of the box. The assist was the first of Bailey’s career, and the strong performances by the two second-years proved to be the difference maker in the contest.
“It feels really good to have the first win out of the way. We are a hardworking team who deserve positive outcomes,” Brace added.
Despite the win though, the offensive struggles continued for UMaine. Going into the game they had only scored once on the year, in a 2-1 loss at the hands of Brown University. The Black Bears were outshot 11-4 by the Crusaders. The standout defense made sure to limit Holy Cross’s offensive attack though, and forced the team into three offside positions.
UMaine also received excellent play from third-year goaltender Annalena Kriebisch. On top of making seven saves, Kriebisch made several other heads-up plays throughout the game. This game marked the second shutout of the season for the German native. It was also the fifth shutout of her career, including her second against Holy Cross.
Fourth-year midfielder Kendra Ridley praised her defense. “Our defensive line did a really great job. They played an important role in preventing crosses from the end line and defended them aggressively if they did get through,” Ridley said.
Although the early season offensive struggles could be a cause for concern, Ridley is optimistic about the UMaine offense moving forward.
“We definitely have some changes to make in our play,” Ridley said. “I think we have a solid defensive structure that will now allow us to hopefully be more of a threat upfront.”
Ridley was one of four Maine players to play all 90 minutes of the game.
For Holy Cross, the loss is a tough one, considering they dominated time of possession and were backed with exceptional defensive play all night. Despite generating plenty of shots, Kriebisch denied them, including one in the final minutes to preserve the win for UMaine.
The Black Bears are back in action on Sunday, Sept. 3 for a neutral site match against the University of Massachusetts in Saco, Maine. This game will be featured on mainecampus.com. They will continue play on Thursday, Sept. 7 against Bryant University at home. Kick-off is scheduled at 4 p.m. Holy Cross will go on to play Friday, Sept. 8 at Iona in New Rochelle, N.Y. The game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.
Black Bear Offensive Struggles Continue in Saco
By: Adam Darling, Sports Editor
Maine could not get the offense going, dropping a 2-1 heartbreaker to the University of Massachusetts(1-3) in a neutral site game played at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine.
Things looked promising for the Black Bears (1-3-1) in the first minute of the game, when first-year defenseman Olivia Bamford put one in from the right post on a cross pass from second-year midfielder Nicole Bailey, giving Maine a 1-0 lead 52 seconds in.
The potential for an offensive outburst died out, as neither team was able to score for the rest of the first half or a fair portion of the second. The Minutemen were able to tie the game at 1-1 in the 80th minute, when third-year forward Erin Doster ripped a shot past Maine’s second-year goalkeeper Annalena Kriebisch.
The game needed two more minutes, when Massachusetts fourth-year forward Salma Anastasio chested down a loose ball and fired one in and past Kriebisch to give the Minutemen the 2-1 victory.
Massachusetts would outshoot Maine in the game 13-10, with a 7-6 edge in shots on goal. Kriebisch would record five saves for the Black Bears, the same total as Minutemen fourth-year year goalkeeper Cassidy Babin.
The Black Bears will look to improve on their .6 goals per game average as they take the Bryant University Bulldogs on Thursday. Kick-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. Meanwhile, UMass will square off with the University of Delaware on Friday at 4 p.m. from Amherst, Mass.