On Thursday, Nov. 2, the University of Maine women’s soccer team took on the University of Vermont Catamounts in the semi-finals of the America East Championship. The Black Bears won 2-1, moving on to the finals. For the first time since 2010 and the sixth time in program history, the Black Bears are heading to the finals.
The Black Bears have had a fantastic season and have only lost one game. The last time Maine had a season this successful was in 2005. The Black Bears had a first-round pass after finishing second in the conference. The only game the Black Bears lost was against the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The Black Bears will be taking on the Riverhawks in the championship game.
The starting line for the Black Bears was made up of second-year Rebecca Grisdale, fifth-year Dorieann Fahey, third-year Emma Schinder, first-year Luise Reinwald, third-year Kristina Kelly, third-year Lara Kirkby, fourth-year Kayla Kraemer, third-year Abby Kraemer, second-year Julie Lossius, third-year Maya Schinder and in net for the Black Bears was fifth-year Kira Kutzinski.
The Black Bears had a strong showing and had possession of the ball for the majority of the first half. The Black Bears struck the first goal, scored by Kraemer, who Kirkby and Kelly assisted in the 10th minute of the first half. The Black Bears knew how to control the game playing on the offense, and the defense was ready for when the play came towards them. The Black Bears remained on top for the rest of the first half, leaving the Catamounts scoreless.
The Black Bears kept together, and with 37 minutes left in the second half, Catamount player second-year Lauren DeGroot unassisted to tie the game. The Catamounts were more aggressive this half, but the Black Bears know how to keep up with the game. The Catamounts had more control for most of the second half. The game was about to go into overtime, but with 22 seconds left, Kraemer scored her second goal of the playoffs.
Kraemer led the Black Bears the whole season and was named the America East Striker of the Year. She scored her 13th goal in the season, setting the most goals scored in a season since 2018 in America East. Kraemer led the conference in points, points per game, goals, shots, and shots on goal. She’s also on a career-high with six game-winning goals of the year. She has also set career bests in goals, assists and points.
Catamount goalie fifth-year Erin Murphy had five saves, while Black Bear goalie Kutzinski had four saves. Vermont ended the game with six shots on net while the Black Bears had seven. Each team finished with one offside. The Catamounts had nine fouls, and the Black Bears had eight fouls.
The Black Bears will face UMass Lowell this Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. for the championship at the Mahaney Diamond at UMaine.