Rachel Morrier scored two goals against Seton Hall and leads the team in scoring. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell Athletics)
Taking on Seton Hall for the first time, the UMass Lowell women’s soccer team defeated the Pirates, 3-1, Thursday night at Cushing Field. Rachel Morrier scored two goals to give the River Hawks the advantage. Her first goal came in the second minute of the game and her other goal came with two minutes to play.
“It wasn’t exactly the prettiest at times, but there was a game plan that they put together and they executed that really well,” said UMass Lowell head coach Frankie D’Agostino. “Locking it down defensively, we’re very tough, we know that by now. I’m just happy that we were able to get a couple goals and relieve some pressure.”
River Hawks (3-1-3) scored right away at the 1:06 mark. Morrier gathered the ball from a goal kick and dribbled up the field past defenders. The ball hit off the goal post and flew into the net.
Three minutes later, UMass Lowell looked to score again as forward Shannon Groffie ran with the ball towards the net, but Seton Hall goalkeeper Anna MacLean came off her line to grab the loose ball.
The Pirates maintained most of the possession early on in the first half, but were unable to convert to a goal. The River Hawks’ defensive line remained steadfast and continued to poke the ball away from Seton Hall’s forwards. The Pirates had three shot attempts on goal in five minutes, but were not able to score, due in part to saves from UMass Lowell goalkeeper Julia Schneider. She ended the half with six saves as compared to MacLean’s one.
Morrier looked to add another goal in the 17th minute, going one-on-one with MacLean, but with pressure from defenders on both sides of her, the shot went wide of the net.
The River Hawks struggled to get the ball past midfield, but utilized some corner kick opportunities to get the ball close to the net. Midfielder Veronica Morrier had a shot after grabbing the rebound of a corner kick, but the ball was saved in the 26th minute.
The remaining half featured a back and forth game. Various steals from both sides prevented scoring chances, while numerous fouls interrupted the flow of the game. This was the seventh game this season that the River Hawks did not allow a goal in the first half.
The second half started with Seton Hall finding their momentum. Two minutes into the final half, the Pirates had corner kick that resulted in shot that deflected off the foot of a River Hawk defender. The loose ball gave Schneider a challenge, but she was able to get a hold of it.
UMass Lowell did not see another opportunity to score until the 62nd minute. Forward Kristin Birgisdottir found Groffie who got a shot off, but the ball went above the net.
Five minutes later, Andrea Morrow passed to an open R. Morrier who was able to get into the box uncontested, but the ball was eventually picked away by a Seton Hall defender.
With 20 minutes remaining, the River Hawks had a close chance as R. Morrier sent a corner kick right into the goal, but MacLean was able to stop it. Defender Abigail Drezek found the rebound, but MacLean made the save again.
Seton Hall took a corner kick with 12 minutes to play, and forward Julia Stirpe was able to score, which tied the game. The River Hawks were un-phased by the shot, scoring another goal to retake the lead two minutes later. Morrow was able to get a shot off from outside the box, moving the score to 2-1.
With two minutes remaining, Groffie sent the ball to R. Morrier who crossed the ball in front of the lone defender to get a wide-open shot in front of the net. She sent a low shot to the right-hand corner of the goal to extend the River Hawks’ lead and end the game at 3-1.
“We created a lot in the final third. I thought we had a couple other opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of, but [I’m] just happy that we finally got off the mark and scored a few,” said D’Agostino.
The team travels to Rhode Island to take on Providence University, Sunday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. at Anderson Stadium. The River Hawks return home the following Sunday, Sept. 24 to play Hartford University at 4 p.m.