Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Anchorwomen look primed for playoff action

Who: Rhode Island College Anchorwomen vs. Plymouth State University Panthers

When: October 30, 2007 at 3:30pm

Where: RIC Soccer Field, Providence, RI

Forecast: 62 degrees and sunny

The Little East Conference women's soccer semi-finals will pit the fourth-seeded Anchorwomen (9-8-1 overall, 4-3 conference) against the fifth-seeded Panthers (8-8, 3-4) on Tuesday, as both teams are coming off of very different season-finale results. RIC lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to sixth-place Southern Maine over the weekend, despite the promise of first-round playoff bye with a victory. PSU rode the wave of a three-match win streak that continued on Saturday with a resounding 5-0 result over UMass-Boston.

On paper, the Anchorwomen appear to be well tuned for the low-scoring protocol of playoff soccer. RIC only allowed one goal in its final four matches, due in large part to the defending corps led by senior co-captain Kerry Donahue, and the sensational goalkeeping of freshman Maddie Pirri (0.73 GAA). Up front, the Anchorwomen are no slouches either, with Lindsay Laurie and Brittney Godbout leading the way in goals with five apiece. Senior strikers Gina Calenda (4 G, 2 A) and Jessica Cardinal (4, 2 A), both of whom recorded ten points during the regular season, have undoubtedly bolstered the RIC attack this year.

Rest assured, Plymouth State won't simply bask on its postseason laurels. Although the Panthers allowed a whopping 40 goals in 16 matches this season, their aggressive attack is spearheaded by striker Alex Marcel, who led the team in goals (8) and points (18) and bettered the "one goal every other game" standard for strikers in fifteen matches. Additionally, striking partner Jamie Coombs chipped in five goals of her own, while Georgia Rooney (2 G, 7 A) held down a midfielding corps that scored a total of thirteen goals, giving PSU a well-rounded attack that can seemingly strike from anywhere.

During the regular season head-to-head match back on October 13th in Providence, the Anchorwomen dominated the first half, scoring two goals before halftime. But in the second half, the Panthers slowly crept right back to tie it at 2-2, and forced the match into overtime. It wasn't until Abby Hummel's strike toward the far post in the 94th minute that finally separated the clubs. Coincidentally, the overtime thriller clinched a playoff berth for the maroon and gold.

As with any playoff match, the x-factor will be defending, and the Anchorwomen appear to have the upper hand based on total goals allowed (29-40) throughout the season. Along with home field advantage, the Anchorwomen look primed to extend their season beyond October 30th.

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