By Nathan Grube
UMBC women’s soccer took on the University of New Hampshire in their first match of the America East Conference tournament. The Retrievers lost after a shootout in a one to one tie.
UMBC struck early in the first half, when junior Amira Walcott scored her second goal of the season in the seventh minute. The score remained the same until the 81st minute when New Hampshire’s Brooke Murphy tied the game. After two scoreless overtime periods, the game went into shootouts.
This was the first time this season that the Retrievers took a game to penalty kicks, while New Hampshire won their first tournament game against Binghamton University on kicks. Perhaps that one game of experience helped the Wildcats as they just edged out UMBC six to five on the final kick. New Hampshire will now advance to the conference finals where they will take on the number one seed University of Hartford.
Despite the loss, it was another great game for UMBC junior goalkeeper Jen Nance, who recorded eight saves on the game. Nance did an excellent job under pressure as New Hampshire took 22 shots in the game, with 10 shots being on goal. The Retrievers were held to just eight shots, including two in the second half and one in overtime.
For UMBC, a long and successful season has now come to an end. Although they were unable to defend their conference title from a year ago, they still had the second best conference record this season and the best overall record of any team in the America East.
The Retrievers will lose five seniors this season, including Jessy Brown and Lily Rydon, the team’s two leading scorers. Four of those five seniors started at least 18 games this season, however several freshman including Lisa Nanov, Virginia Moyer, Destinee Morris and Gabby Boehmer saw action in over 16 matches.
To add to that, UMBC will not have to replace their goalkeeper, as Nance will return for her senior year. Nance was an important part of the Retrievers’ run this season, she recorded 90 saves, which was good for 88 percent of shots on goal. She also recorded nine shutouts on the season, more than any other goalkeeper in the America East conference.
Coach Leslie Wray was content to play at home for the tournament. “We were happy to be at home at this point in the season, however we have proven that we were successful on the road as well,” Wray said.
The ending to this season was slightly disappointing, but UMBC has set itself up for long term success with a talented team heading forward.