Senior midfielder Thalia Petsis goes in for the slide tackle while defending Binghamton’s Erin Theiller. (Matt Dwyer/Connector)
In their final home game of the 2017 regular season, the women’s soccer team tied Binghamton University 1-1 on Sunday afternoon, moving to a 5-5-5 record overall. A successful penalty kick taken by the River Hawk’s leading scorer, Rachel Morrier, gave the River Hawks the lead, but a late-game goal from the Bearcats sent the game into UMass Lowell’s 6th overtime match of the season.
The contest was also the team’s Senior Day and the eight members of the squad who will be graduating were honored in a ceremony before the start of the match.
“That’s a good team, they have nine wins, and they’ve done well, so they’re tough to play against,” said head coach Frankie D’Agostino. “They have some really good players. You still feel like you’re on the wrong end of a tie, but that’s a good thing that we can play against a team that well.”
UMass Lowell goalkeeper Julia Schneider had her first save of the night just 45 seconds into the match when Binghamton forward Kayla Saager sent a shot right to her gloves.
The River Hawks saw their first attempt minutes later after Morrier was fouled just outside of the box. She took the free kick, but Binghamton’s goalkeeper Mackenzie Hanna made the save. Morrier soon followed with another free kick for the River Hawks, but Binghamton midfielder Dora Hayes cleared the ball. She attempted to take the ball all the way down the field, but the UMass Lowell defenders stopped her.
The Bearcats continued to put pressure on the River Hawks and stopped most of their chances to advance the ball past midfield and get a shot off.
Forward Shannon Groffie almost had an opportunity to put the River Hawks on the board in the 23rd minute, but she was double-teamed at the top of the box and the Bearcat defenders poked the ball away.
Two minutes later, UMass Lowell was awarded a corner kick. Morrier was fouled inside the penalty box, resulting in her taking the shot that gave the lead to UMass Lowell. Her low kick went into the left corner of the net, while Hanna went to the right. With 11 goals this season, Morrier extended her number of goals scored this year and continues to lead the team.
“I’ve said this before; Rachel is a pro,” said D’Agostino. “She’s [someone] that we’re lucky to have. Getting a little bit more around her, eventually, will help her… but she’s the quality that we need and 11 goals kind of speaks for itself.”
Following the goal, the Bearcats looked for revenge and had several goal attempts to control the remainder of the half. Hayes and Saager led the team in shots in the first half with two and four, respectively.
Morrier looked to add another goal for the River Hawks with 1:20 to play before halftime when she got a shot off right in front of Hanna, but the ball went high. With five shots, Morrier was the only player for UMass Lowell to have any shot attempts in the first half.
UMass Lowell led 1-0 at the half which marked the 12th time this season that the River Hawks have kept an opponent from scoring in the first 45 minutes.
The Bearcats kept pressuring the River Hawks and dominated the start of the final 45 minutes, but were unable to get many shots off. After defender Barbara Badeer sent a wide shot into the box in the 49th minute, UMass Lowell gathered the rebound and advanced down the field with the ball. Forward Kristin Birgisdottir got a shot off, but Hanna was there to make the save.
In the 60th minute, Hayes had the first shot in ten minutes for either team, and the ball barely went past the post and out of bounds.
Binghamton continued to control the field, but were not able to score until the 79th minute off a free kick taken by Saager. The ball bounced off the top of the post, even as Schneider attempted to jump up and poke it out, and the Bearcats tied the game.
Even with an aggressive ending riddled with fouls against both teams, neither team could convert to score a goal and the match went into overtime.
The game continued in a back and forth fashion. Midfielder Laura Gagnon had the first shot for the River Hawks in the first period of overtime. Hanna was able to punch the ball out of the net right beside the goalpost. Again, neither team scored and the game went into the second and final ten minutes of overtime.
UMass Lowell had an opportunity as they sent the ball forward with a long-range pass. Morrier tried to pass to Birgisdottir, but Binghamton defenders cleared the ball.
Scheider came up with two big saves in the final six minutes of the match to ensure the tie. She ended the game with eight saves and like Morrier, leads the team from the net with 95 saves this season.
“[The seniors] are great kids and everyone got to play. They showed well and they worked hard,” D’Agostino said regarding senior day. “When you get everyone on the field on senior night, it’s an important thing.”
With just two away games remaining in the regular season, the River Hawks play at the University of New Hampshire on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 22 at the University of Maine at 1 p.m.