(Courtesy of Salem State Sports Information)
SALEM, Mass. – Freshman Ashley Leboeuf (Dracut, Mass.) netted the Salem State University Vikings first goal of the season as they defeated University of Southern Maine Huskies 1-0 in a non-conference women's soccer game Wednesday afternoon at Alumni Field.
After opening the season with four consecutive losses, Salem State earned its first win of the season to improve to 1-4. Playing in their second game of a four-match road trip, Southern Maine's loss drops its record to 2-2.
Despite solid scoring chances on both sides of the ball, the game was 0-0 at the half. Twelve minutes into the first half, the Vikings had a great scoring opportunity when captain senior Kelly Birchmore (Swampscott, Mass.) received a pass that led her past the Huskies defense for a breakaway. However, Southern Maine goalkeeper senior Marissa Temple (Grafton, Mass.) charged Birchmore leaving her no angle to score. It would be the only save Temple needed to make all half as she kept Salem State scoreless. On the other side, senior Rachel Ledbetter (Dracut, Mass.) made three critical saves on three shots to keep the game tied at 0-0.
The Vikings' offense awoke in the second half putting pressure on Temple early. Junior Victoria Clancy (Dorchester, Mass.) launched a shot shot that rang the post in the 54th minute and seconds later, Leboeuf found the back of the net on a cross from the left side from sophomore Kaitlyn Curley (Wilmington, Mass.) to break the stalemate to put the Vikings ahead 1-0. Junior Brianna Steeves (Rockland, Mass.) nearly added to Salem State's lead in the 81st minute as she fired a shot on net, but was stopped by a diving Temple.
In the final minutes the Huskies had multiple scoring opportunities, but were denied by Ledbetter each time to secure the 1-0 victory. Both Temple and Ledbetter made a total of six saves apiece in the contest while the Vikings outshot the Huskies 15-6.
Southern Maine remains on the road for its next contest and will face Little East Conference opponent Keene State College on Saturday (1:00 p.m.). It will be the conference opener for both squads. Salem State hosts Westfield State on Saturday (6:00 p.m.) in a MASCAC contest.