(With contributions from R.I. College Sports Information)
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The visiting University of Southern Maine women's soccer team scored two first-half goals, then held off Rhode Island College in the second half to earn a 2-1 victory in Little East Conference action Saturday afternoon at the RIC Soccer Field.
The win secured the final playoff berth in the upcoming six-team LEC Women's Soccer Championship tournament for the Huskies. The Huskies snapped a four-game losing skid, and improved to 3-13-0 overall and 2-5-0 in conference play. The Anchorwomen finished the season 3-11-0 overall and 1-6-0 in LEC games.
USM got on the board in the 21st minute when sophomore defender Nicole Bordeau (Sanford, Maine) took a free kick about 25 yards out. Her shot deflected off an Anchorwoman defender and went right to freshman midfielder Brooke Lawrence (Lisbon Falls, Maine/Lisbon) who punched in her first marker of the year.
The Huskies scored one more time before the half expired on what began as a harmless scoring chance. Freshman midfielder Michaela Despins (Gray, Maine/Gray-New Gloucester) took possession of the ball near the top of the 18-yard box and slid a pass to senior Cathy Wise (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Cheverus) on her left. Wise fired a shot that seemed to be heading past the far post, but its trajectory carried it over the head of RIC sophomore goalkeeper Audrey Maia (Norton, MA) and into the top right corner. The goal was Wise's first of the season.
RIC got on the board with 6:12 left in the game after the Huskies were whistled for a foul in the box on an Anchorwomen corner kick. Sophomore Danielle Peloquin (Pawtucket, RI) took the penalty kick and buried her team-leading seventh goal of the season.
Southern Maine was able to keep the ball pinned deep in the far corner of RIC's side of the field to bleed precious minutes off the clock and hold on for the win.
USM senior keeper Katie Cobb (Lewiston, Maine) and Maia each made five saves in the game. RIC held an 18-11 advantage in shots while USM had a 2-1 edge in corner kicks.
Southern Maine will be the sixth seed in the LEC tournament that starts Tuesday. USM will travel to Danbury, Conn., to play third-seeded Western Connecticut State University in a first-round game.