Wednesday, October 31, 2007

RIC overtakes PSU 3-2; advance to LEC semis

In a wild and crazy match that featured four goals, a controversial penalty kick, fisticuffs, and two players sent off all before the half, the Rhode Island College Anchorwomen valiantly claimed victory against Plymouth State University Panthers during Tuesday afternoon’s Little East Conference first round playoff match by the score of 3-2.

Right off the opening whistle, the Anchorwomen came out with an aggressive attack and wasted no time getting on the board when freshman Kristina Haughey took a cross from Brittney Godbout and flicked home the goal of the match in the 2nd minute, immediately putting the Panthers on their proverbial heels.

Unsatisfied with sitting on a mere one-goal lead for long, the Anchorwomen struck two minutes later when Haughey struck again as she headed a nice feed from Gina Calenda, giving RIC an amazing two-goal advantage before the fifth minute mark.

But PSU wasn't about to sit back and focus on defending for long. Instead, they unleashed a fervent attack of their own, and were “rewarded” when referee Bill Morrone called a hand ball on the Anchorwomen inside the box, giving the Panthers a fortuitous penalty kick in the 31st minute. Despite the home crowd’s objections, Lauren Lavery stepped up and delivered a rocket inside the left post for her club’s first goal of the match.

The guests continued to challenge the backs when Alex Marcell raced deep down the left channel, juked her defender, and fired a quick cross toward Stacy DiSabato, who deftly redirected the pass into the corner of the goal in the 38th minute.

With less than two minutes remaining in the half, tempers flared after a Gianna Minervini throw in near midfield. After the ball bounced to a teammate, Minervini suddenly charged into the back of Linsday Laurie. The Anchorwoman midfielder retaliated and threw Minervini to the ground, as the two tussled a few yards deep into the Anchorwomen end. Morrone halted play to separate the perpetrators, who were soon joined by a rush of teammates. After the players finally dispersed, the sparring partners were sent off, leaving both teams with only ten players at their disposal.

The second half played itself out much like the early part of the first, with RIC aggressive on the attack. Curiously, the Panthers played right into this ploy by sitting back on defense, surely lacking the tenacity they displayed in the first half. The Anchorwomen took advantage, and tested the backs with almost limitless pressure, as the Panther backline bent like a bow.

However, the pressure became too much to withstand by the 63rd minute when Abby Hummel finally advantage of a failed clearance and fired a screamer from the top of the box that seared high above the reach of Panther keeper Ashley Riberdy and into the top right corner of the goalmouth, giving back the lead to RIC.

Looking for goal number four, the Anchorwomen continued to pressure when Gina Calenda danced into the box and laced a hard shot goalward that Riberdy acrobatically saved to keep the deficit at one in the 73rd minute.

As the time on wound down on the match, home club kept their foot on the accelerator, while their guests struggled to reassert themselves on the attack. PSU mounted one final journey toward the RIC end before the final whistle sounded. But it was all in vain, as the Anchorwomen took the 3-2 victory over the Panthers.

With the victory, RIC earned a trip to Danbury, CT to face top-seeded Western Connecticut for the Little East Conference semi-finals on Thursday, November 2nd.

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