BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Sophomore forward Ali Maldonado (Rutland, Mass.) potted the game-winning goal with 18 seconds remaining in the first overtime session to lift the visiting Worcester State University women's soccer team to a 3-2 victory over Bridgewater State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) match on Saturday afternoon at Swenson Field.
The Lancers improve to 6-5 on the season and 4-0 in the MASCAC as they take over sole possession of first place in the conference standings. The Bears fall to 5-4-1 overall and 3-1 in MASCAC play.
With time winding down in the overtime period, Maldonado collected a short centering pass from sophomore forward Talia Borci (Leicester, Mass.), dribbled in and ripped a shot inside the left post from 13 yards out. The goal marked Maldonado's sixth of the season and third game-winner.
Bridgewater State led 1-0 at the break as senior forward Taylor Loyd (Halifax, Mass.) scored of the rebound of an Amelia Burke (Plymouth, Mass.) shot with under five minutes remaining in the first half. Burke's shot from the right side deflected off the foot of a defender and got behind the Worcester goalie. Loyd hopped on the rebound and easily deposited a shot into the open net for her third goal of the 2018 campaign.
The Bears had three other glorious scoring chances earlier in the first half but were unable to capitalize. Junior forward Alana Vincent (Taunton, Mass.) was stopped on a semi-breakaway attempt coming down the left side in the fourth minute. Vincent also ripped one off the crossbar in the tenth minute. Freshman forward Delaney Langton (Scituate, Mass.) hit the post off a centering pass from junior forward Emma Sanders (Seekonk, Mass.) in the 11th minute.
Borci capitalized on pair of BSU miscues to stake the Lancers to a 2-1 lead in the opening minutes of the second half. Borci beat the Bridgewater State netminder one-on-one just 19 seconds into the stanza after Maldonado split the BSU defense with a short thru-ball. Less than two minutes later, the Bears mishandled a ball sent into the box and Borci slipped a shot into the wide-open cage for her six marker of the year.
Maldonado nearly made it a two-goal advantage in the 56th minute, but was turned aside by a nice diving stop by BSU junior goalkeeper Kellie Souza (Wilmington, Mass.).
Bridgewater State senior midfielder Nicole Simas (Dartmouth, Mass.) notched the tying goal with just 3:44 remaining in the second half. Senior defender Molly Shield (Mansfield, Mass.) set up the goal as her long chip from 50 yards away sailed just over the head of a Worcester defender at the top of the 18. Simas corralled the ball and beat slipped shot into the left side of the net from ten yards out for her fourth goal of the season.
Both keepers made outstanding saves in the overtime session. Worcester State sophomore Ashley Spellman (Lancaster, Mass.) made a leaping stop on a shot labeled for just under the crossbar by Vincent just 1:11 into the period, while Souza turned aside Maldonado's close-range shot in the 97th minute.
The Bears finished with a decided 31-16 shot advantage as well as a 9-5 edge in corner kick attempts.
Spellman made eight saves to record her fifth win of the season for the Lancers, while Souza turned aside four shots in the setback.
In upcoming action, the Bears travel to Wentworth on Thursday night to take on the Leopards at seven. The Lancers head to Keene State College on Monday evening for a 6:30 game with the Owls.