By Chelsea Cabral, Staff Writer
The UMass Dartmouth women’s soccer team battled for a spot in the tournament’s upcoming semifinals, but was eventually defeated by Plymouth State during a penalty shootout 4-3 in the first leg of the Little East Conference Tournament on Tuesday, November 1 at Cressy Field.
The first half of the match ticked away, with both teams vying for a match point but neither prevailing. With five shots on goal from the Corsairs in the first half compared to only two from the Panthers, Plymouth State’s heady defense and goalkeeper Annaliese Schmidt stood their ground to keep UMass Dartmouth off the map.
In the game’s 55th minute, sophomore Panther Tabitha Josefik footed a save right on the entrance of the net on a swift shot from senior Corsair Talia D’Ambruoso who had Panther goalkeeper Schmidt beaten in the box. Moments later, senior Corsair Lucy Jensen managed to lightly chip a ball past a diving Schmidt, but Panther Adrianna Kippenberger was there to quickly knock the ball off the goal’s entrance.
Right at the end of the second half, the Corsairs had a chance to quickly capitalize on their missed opportunities during the game with a penalty kick in the 89th minute. Following a yellow card on Plymouth State’s Leah Swanson in the box, Corsair Talia D’Ambruoso shot a powerful penalty kick that was ultimately deflected by Panther keeper Annaliese Schmidt, bringing the game into overtime.
Senior Talia D’Ambruoso who collected the most shots in this match with eleven, leads the Corsairs with the most shots on goal of the season with thirty five in total. She’s amassed four goals this season, following junior Abby Silva with five, and senior Erica Farias with six.
After a fierce 110 minutes of play, a 0-0 tie, and strong offensive tactics from both teams, the game went into its shootout phase, with each team frantically trying to clinch the victory.
Corsair Liz Stearns was first to step into the box and fire a shot past Panther keeper Annaliese Schimidt to put UMass Dartmouth on the map. The shootout went back and forth, slowly edging on to an end until finally Plymouth State junior Adrianna Kippenberger launched in the winning penalty kick past the hands of Madison Boucher. This was Plymouth State’s first time advancing past the first leg of the LEC Tournament since 2001.
UMass Dartmouth collected an impressive 34 shots in the match, with 16 shots on goal, but was shot down with 16 saves by Panther keeper Schmidt who was just one save short of a career-high standing. Meanwhile, junior Corsair keeper Madison Boucher finished her season with a solid outing, tallying seven stops and turning aside a penalty kick during the shootout.
With that, the UMass Dartmouth women’s soccer team officially wraps up their season with a final standing of 6-12-3 and a league slate of 3-4. We’ll see the girls back in action again next year!