BOSTON, Mass. – An early goal from Kerri Alexander (Carver, Mass.) and a late clincher by Kaleigh LaFreniere (Hanover, Mass.) carried women's soccer to a 2-0 win over Rhode Island College in the first round of the 2017 Little East Conference Tournament Tuesday evening at James Cotter Field.
#4 UMass Boston 2, #5 Rhode Island College 0
UMass Boston (6-11-2)
Rhode Island College (5-12-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
With Tuesday's win, the Beacons will now face the top-seeded Warriors of Eastern Connecticut State University on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Mansfield, CT. The Beacons will be making their ninth appearance in the LEC semi-final round in the last 10 seasons.
Alexander's goal, which came in the eighth minute, would hold as the matches only tally for nearly 82 minutes in Tuesday's semi-final. The senior forward notched her eighth goal of the season, after she managed to take the ball off-of the foot of an RIC defender. She then dribbled right at Erica Edwards, and despite taking one too many touches, Alexander pushed the ball into the back of the net as Edwards closed the distance.
From there, the UMass Boston defense would hold strong. Despite flurries from the Anchorwomen, especially in the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Beacons backline never wavered. Freshman Eryn Kelly (Plymouth, Mass.) played one of her best matches of the season, along with fellow backs Jaclyn O'Grady (Somers, Conn.) and Melanie Fitzgerald (Lowell, Mass.).
Also contributing to the Beacons defensive wall was LaFreniere, and Carly Robinson (Pittsfield, Mass.).
After holding off the Anchorwomen in the opening minutes of the second frame, UMass Boston nearly blew the game wide open in the middle part of the final half. A pair of Beacons shot would slip right over the crossbar, while a laser of a shot from Alexander, missed just wide in the final 10 minutes of regulation.
With both teams completely exhausted, the Beacons began to stall in the Anchorwomen's corner in hopes to kill-off valuable seconds. On their final push of the night, the Beacons caught RIC's defense sleeping as Jessi Beverlin (Eagle River, Alaska) found Alexander wide open in the corner of the goal box. Alexander then hit a perfect cross to LaFreniere who tapped in to clinch the victory with 41 seconds left in the affair.
Edwards ended the night with a combined five stops, while Alyssa Fugiel (Easthampton, Mass.) had to make just two to earn the conference tournament win.
BY THE NUMBERS
- With the win UMass Boston is now 10-12 all-time against RIC with the two teams also sharing two ties
- The Beacons have not dropped a contest to the Anchorwomen since the 2008 season, and have a combined eight shutouts
- UMass Boston has now outscored RIC 37-4 since September 20, 2008
- Rhode Island College has not recorded a win in the Little East Tournament since the 2007 season
- The postseason shutout is the Beacons first since November 3, 2015 when they earned a 2-0 win over Plymouth State in Boston
- On the night UMass Boston finished with 19 shots, while RIC had 12 (7-2 in shots on goal)
- Rhode Island College led 7-3 in corner kicks
The Beacons will face the Warriors in the Thursday's LEC Semi-Final round at 6 p.m. in Mansfield. Thursday's contest will mark the fifth time that UMB has faced ECSU with a spot in the title game on the line.