October 10, 2012

Women's soccer draws SNHU, 1-1, continues stretch against regionally-ranked foes

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's soccer team knotted Southern New Hampshire University, 1-1, on Wednesday at Duffy Field while continuing a challenging stretch of six straight contests against nationally- or regionally-ranked squads. The Purple Knights moved to 2-8-2 overall and 2-6-2 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Penmen, who are seventh in this week's National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) East Region poll, had a four-game winning streak halted in becoming 8-3-2 and 6-3-2.

Sophomore Olivia Biron (Saint Albans, Vt./BFA-Saint Albans) scored a go-ahead marker for the hosts, while  classmate Aubrey Ouellet (Bedford, N.H./Bedford) totaled seven saves. Saint Michael's has now taken each of its last three opponents to double overtime, going 1-1-1 in that time versus their regionally-ranked foes. The Purple Knights yielded one goal or less for the eighth time this fall.

First-year Lexxi Carroll (Plainville, Conn./Plainville) netted the equalizer for Southern New Hampshire, while senior Maggie Weldon (Manchester, N.H./Manchester West) turned aside two shots and was helped by a team save in overtime.

In just the fourth minute of the game, senior Cassie Crockett (Gilmanton, N.H./Gilford) sent a long pass over the defense to Biron, who carried a few yards before chipping her shot from 10 yards out over a rushing Weldon to put the Purple Knights ahead at 3:10. The Penmen countered at 25:19, as Carroll drove a shot from 20 yards away into the center portion of the net and above a leaping Ouellet.

Less than 10 minutes into the second half, first-year Sarah Waltsak (East Longmeadow, Mass./East Longmeadow) found herself alone in front of the Saint Michael's net, with only Ouellet to beat, but as she settled a teammate's pass, Purple Knight junior back Katie Butler (Sayville, N.Y./Saint Anthony's) back checked and took the ball away. Ouellet twice dove to her left to deny senior Kaleigh Roberge (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Memorial) during the second half, in the 64th and 68th minutes, and the hosts took the final three shots of regulation but could not break the tie.

On the initial shot during extra time, in the 95th minute, Saint Michael's first-year Josie Couch (Alton Bay, N.H./Brewster Academy) lofted a shot from 15 yards on a net recently vacated by Weldon, who had slid out to catch a ball before it slipped through her hands, but a Penmen field player headed the ball off the line. With less than two minutes remaining in the second 10-minute overtime period, Ouellet corralled a corner-kick cross in traffic on the final dangerous play of the game.

The Purple Knights head to the University of New Haven on Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest, opposing a squad ranked ninth in this week's regional poll.

The Edmundite Catholic Liberal Arts College