Saturday, October 20, 2007

Donahue, Hummel lead RIC to victory on Senior Day; clinch playoff berth

On a cool and overcast autumn afternoon, the Rhode Island College Anchorwomen warmed up the home crowd with a gritty 1-0 win over Eastern Connecticut State University on Saturday.

The Anchorwomen, who also honored their seniors in a touching pre-match ceremony, were challenged by an ESCU squad that had entered the match riding an astonishing 465-minute streak of shutout soccer, and looked poised to extend the streak even further.

Early on, both clubs searched to establish the attack, as possession was fairly even after the first twenty minutes. The two-headed monster of Gina Calenda and Lindsay Laurie began to menace the Warrior backs halfway through the half as RIC began to tilt the possession scales in their favor.

With the scaffolding removed, the potent Anchorwomen attack began to elicit desperate measures from their opponents, and the Warriors were forced to foul in the 28th minute, setting up a free kick from about 35-yards. Appropriately enough on Senior Day, a pair of seniors hooked up on the a set piece strike when senior defender Kerry Donahue curled it perfectly toward a gaggle of white and blue jerseys up front before senior midfielder Abby Hummel thumped a header that lodged itself in the back of the net for the one-goal lead.

As the second half commenced, the proceedings began to get even chippier with both clubs trading jabs in the midfield. To his credit, referee Tony Reis refused to make himself a part of the game, as he allowed the players to simply play.

But as tempers began to flare near the hour mark, Reis did well to keep the match from becoming a multi-card UFC event after Kristina Haughey battled Melissa Roy for the ball near the right channel before Roy brought her down. But before Roy was booked, Haughey kicked back at the Warrior midfielder, to which Reis immediately rewarded with a red card, thus leaving the home side a player down with close to thirty minutes remaining.

Unfazed by the dismissal of their teammate, the Anchorwomen hunkered down on defense stood up a impressive Warrior attack that had scored seventeen goals in its previous five matches. Led by Donahue and Mallary Bileau, the backline became an impenetrable fortress, as the Anchorwomen held on for the win.

With the victory over their Little East Conference rivals, RIC clinched not only a playoff berth, but a home field playoff match either on October 30th or November 2nd.

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