BALTIMORE – The second-seeded UMBC Retrievers women's soccer team saw its 2014 campaign end on a windy Sunday afternoon at Retriever Soccer Park as No. 3 New Hampshire punched its ticket to the America East Championship game by outlasting UMBC in penalty kicks, 6-5. The two teams played to a 1-1 tie through 110 minutes of action, the second draw between the two squads this season.
The Retrievers conclude the year with a 12-4-3 record, having matched a regular-season record in total wins, and participated in their second straight America East Championships. The Wildcats (7-8-3) advance to Saturday's America East title game, advancing in penalty kicks for the second straight game, and will face the top-seeded Hartford Hawks.
UMBC took a one-goal lead in the opening half, but the Wildcats evened the score in the 82nd minute. The two teams, who had combined for 27 shots in regulation, tallied just three attempts in the two overtime periods. Each goalkeeper made a save in the opening five penalty kicks, but it was a save in the seventh round by UNH sophomore goalkeeper Mimi Borkan that proved to be the difference.
The Retrievers jumped on the board first in the eighth minute when a corner kick from senior back Morgan Taylor (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) drilled the knee of junior back Amira Walcott (Beltsville, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) and soared over the head of Borkan. The score was the second of the season for America East All-Conference First Team selection, while the assist marked Taylor's career-best fifth of the year.
The Wildcats rattled off three shots and set up two corner kicks early in the second half, including a shot from senior midfielder Caroline Murray that rolled across the front of the net before trickling wide of the goal post in the 39th minute, but UNH was unable to come away with the equalizer.
The Retrievers had a chance to add insurance to their 1-0 advantage in the 61st minute when Meg Kowalski (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) found an opening in the box, but the sophomore midfielder was unable to place her shot away from the UNH keeper, making Borkan's third save of the afternoon an easy one.
A shot from Murray in the 77th minute knocked off the fingertips of UMBC junior goalkeeper Jen Nance (Millersville, Md./Severna Park), hit the top of the cross bar and dropped to the ground behind the net, marking the first of four shots and three corner kicks over a 3:08 span that the Retrievers were able to defend in order to preserve their one-goal advantage. The Wildcats were finally able to wear down the defense, scoring in the 82nd minute on a shot from almost an impossible angle from freshman forward Brooke Murphy, following a pass from Murray.
The Wildcats held a 22-8 shot advantage in the contest, forcing Nance into making eight stops on the afternoon.