COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's soccer team yielded only a 68th-minute marker to regionally-ranked University of New Haven during a 1-0 loss on Tuesday at Duffy Field during Northeast-10 Conference action. It marked the seventh straight one-goal affair between the squads.
The Purple Knights fell to 1-5-1 overall and 0-4 in the league, while the Chargers, who are 10th in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) East Region poll, improved to 5-2 and 2-2.
During her first career conference start, first-year Megan LeCours (Barre, Vt./Spaulding) made a season-high nine saves for Saint Michael's, which was only outshot 20-13. New Haven senior Marisa Garcia netted the lone tally, otherwise being robbed by LeCours a handful of times, and classmate Natasha Purchla had three stops.
LeCours had three stellar saves in the opening half, including denying the first shot of the game in the sixth minute by tipping Garcia's long free kick over the crossbar. In the 20th minute, LeCours dove fully extended at the left post to stop another attempt from Garcia, who had struck the ball from inside the 18. LeCours kept the game scoreless in the 34th minute, sliding in the left side of the box to knock away a one-touch try from a rushing Garcia.
Purple Knight junior Alyssa Keeler (Ghent, N.Y./Chatham) was involved in a pair of scoring opportunities during the opening stanza, first when her give-and-go with classmate Allegra DiCesare (Lynnfield, Mass./Lynnfield) ended up with DiCesare firing wide left from close range in the 25th minute. Senior Cassie Chernicki (Hanson, Mass./Whitman-Hanson Regional) dribbled through two Charger defenders one minute later and crossed for Keeler, whose one-touch shot was sent wide of the left post from inside the box.
Only 20 seconds into the second stanza, LeCours came off her line to contest sophomore Rachel Dempsey, who slipped a shot wide left of the post. Senior Ashley Dawson lofted a shot from 25 yards out toward net in the 56th minute, but a backtracking LeCours made the catch. DiCesare was stopped on a close-range counter less than 25 seconds later after taking senior Amanda Shanahan's (Hull, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) through ball.
Garcia received a through ball on the run in the 66th minute, but she lofted a high shot toward net that the 5-foot-9 LeCours stopped. Fewer than three minutes later, Garcia broke the stalemate, sending the ball in from 25 yards out into the upper right corner at 67:34. LeCours denied Garcia's try to double the lead with a little more than five minutes remaining, diving to her left to tip away a ball struck from 20 yards. The Purple Knights' final scoring opportunity came with 30 seconds to go, as two teammates ran on to a Chernicki cross bouncing through the box, but Purchla ran off her line to intercept and secure the loose ball.
The Purple Knights conclude a quick two-game homestand on Saturday when they welcome Pace University to campus for a 3 p.m. contest.