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Retriever women’s soccer defends well versus Lehigh

Last Monday, the UMBC women’s soccer team broke a 2-0-0 Lehigh advantage in their third game against the school since 2002. This game followed a 2-2 draw with St Francis U on September 14, where the Retrievers were held scoreless for over 70 minutes after two early goals. UMBC showed their defensive strength again when they prevented Lehigh from making anything of two early corners and a first period characterized by mostly being played in the UMBC half.

UMBC held 0-0 at half time despite a lack of attacking power. Lehigh made 11 shots in the first period, all but 2 going wide and the rest impressively saved by GK Leah Roth and the back line.

Second period started with a foul in the box, awarding a penalty to UMBC. Number 20 Gabby Boehmer scored from the spot, giving UMBC a 1-0 lead. The goal seemed to light the fire under the Retrievers, who attacked cosistently for the next ten minutes, winning two corners that were unfortunately saved. UMBC defense never took their eyes off the ball, preventing a run from Lehigh’s number 3 Maggie Wadsworth.

The Retrievers’ luck ran out with 15 minutes to go in normal time when Wadsworth scored a close goal from a square by number 9, Clare Severe. Soon after, Roth made an amazing save to prevent a quick second goal from within the box.

The end of second period was characterized by skilled dribbling from goal scorer Boehmer and quick runs from number 10 Nikki Saad, who leads UMBC in assists this season. Lehigh fell back into their own half to defend against UMBC attacks until the whistle blew.

During overtime, UMBC’s defense took several calculated risks, like breaking back line formation to one-on-one with a Lehigh player in possession and winning the ball back. Lehigh’s attacks were sloppy and rushed as they tried to score a late goal but ultimately the game ended at a tie.

UMBC Coach Leslie Wray said after the game, “We’re always going to work both sides of the ball. We’re always gonna be an attacking team in our half, and then we all have to defend.” The forwards and midfielders this game all certainly did their defensive parts, and UMBC moved as a whole: the back line pushed forward during attacks and the front line fell back when Lehigh made a run. She also cited Meredith Webber at center back and GK Leah Roth as the most important players this game. Webber is a freshman who hadn’t played CB for UMBC before, but performed well. According to Wray, she had to step in for a player with a concussion, and “she was phenomenal.”

When informed that she had broken this two-game loss streak against Lehigh in her first game against them, Coach Wray said, “it’s one step at a time. We’ll go from a loss to a tie, and hopefully next time it’s a W.”