August 29, 2014

Women's Soccer's Defense Leads Beacons To 0-0 Season-Opening Tie At Babson

BABSON PARK, Mass.—Despite a combined 34 shots, UMass Boston women's soccer (0-0-1) and Babson College's (0-0-1) defenses each earned clean sheets in an opening-day, double-overtime 0-0 tie Friday afternoon at Hartwell-Rogers Field.

The tie extended the Beacons' unbeaten streak on opening day to six in a row (5-0-1) and marked UMass Boston's first tie in 44 games. UMass Boston's last tie occurred over two years ago, on November 4, 2011 (1-1 vs. Keene State College).

UMass Boston's backline of Alexandria Levesque (Metheun, Mass.), Brittany Castillo (Yarmouth, Mass.), Elisa Brooks (San Diego, Calif.) and Sam Bendick (New Egypt, N.J.) played extremely well together throughout the entire afternoon, as they stymied the Babson offense.  

Junior Krista Ledin (Bridgewater, Mass.) and Hannah Petersen (Plymouth, Mass.) led the Beacons' attack, with the pair combining for seven shots and a half-dozen great chances.

In net, senior Dani Perkins (Murrieta, Calif.) and junior Kristen Spain (Quincy, Mass.) split time. Perkins made two saves in the first 45 minutes, while Spain tacked on seven stops over the final 65 minutes of action.

Friday's contest marked the collegiate debuts of five players and the Beacons debut for eight total players. Freshman Marina Kelly (Whitman, Mass), Petersen and Brooks all earned starts on opening day and made big impacts on both sides of the field.

Babson's defense was strong all afternoon as well, as sophomore center back Jennifer Narlee anchored a Beavers defense that allowed 15 shots. Goaltender Melina Kapotsis made five saves and Meghan Tyson led the team with four shots. 

The Beavers led the Beacons 19-15 in shots, while they also held an edge of eight-five on shots on goal. UMass Boston did earn the advantage in corner kicks, as the Beacons totaled 11, versus just four for Babson.

Ledin had the best chance of any player in the first half, as the senior All-Conference forward beat two defenders and narrowly sent a ball past a sliding Kapotsis, only to have the shot trickle just wide of the far post. 

Babson seized the momentum in the last five minutes of the first half and carried it over into the second stanza, where they nearly took the lead. After a bevy of corner kicks threatened the back line, Jessica DiPhilippo wasted the best chance of the day for Babson in the 54th minute. She sent a thunderous shot off the undercarriage of the crossbar, only to have the ball bounce out into the box and eventually out of danger.

UMass Boston settled down over the final 25 minutes of regulation and held the better end of play through the two 10-minute overtime sessions.

Ledin once again had a great chance to give the Beacons the win in the second half, but after beating three defenders this time, she had her sliding strike swallowed up by an on-rushing Kapotsis.

Senior Ericka Garufi (Milton, Mass.) and Brooks both nearly found the back of the net in a crazy sequence off a corner in double overtime with under five minutes to play. Garufi lofted a shot from a difficult angle that hit the far post, before Brooks, who found the loose ball, had two strong chances from 10 feet out knocked away by the Babson defense and keeper.

UMass Boston will have a few days off before their home opener Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. when they host Wesleyan University.