WORCESTER, Mass. – On a rainy afternoon at the top of Mt. St. James, the Holy Cross women's soccer team battled hard, but came up short in a 1-0 loss to the Maine Black Bears. With the loss, the Crusaders are now 0-3-0 on the season while Maine improves to 2-1-1.
Much of the first half was played to a stalemate in the midfield. Two Holy Cross newcomers created the best scoring opportunity of the first half for the Crusaders in the 14th minute. Freshman Gina Righini (Salem, N.H.) threaded a well placed ball through the center of the Black Bear defense that was cradled by the Maine goalkeeper an instant before it could find the foot of freshman Emily Gallagher (Duxbury, Mass.) who was looking to put the finish on a timely run.
After a scoreless first half, the skies opened up even more as the rainfall became heavier throughout much of the second half. Although the Crusader defense kept the Maine attack out of rhythm for much of the game, the Black Bears' offense became opportunistic with 34:05 left in the game. A long cross from the left sideline off the foot of Kaitlyn MacIsaac was able to find the head of Courtney Harnais, who directed the ball into the bottom corner of the Holy Cross net. The finish by Harnais proved to be the difference in the game.
The Crusaders kept fighting through the downpour. Less than four minutes after the Maine score, senior Lauren Wright (Biglerville, Pa.) sent a blast from 25 yards out but came up unlucky as the shot beat Maine goalkeeper, Meagan Price-Leibenzeder, then rang loudly off the crossbar. With 15 minutes left in the match, senior Liz Early (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) was able to create another excellent scoring chance when she capitalized on a Maine turnover in the defense. Early was able to control the ball, beat another defender, and deliver a pass off to Wright whose shot was denied this time by Price-Leibenzeder.
Holy Cross continued to threaten all the way to the final horn, but the result remained unchanged. The Crusaders out-shot Maine 10-3 on the day.
Next up for the women's soccer team is a trip to Fairfield, Conn. on Friday, Sept. 9 to compete in the Fairfield Classic for a pair of matches. The Crusaders will take on Central Connecticut (1-1-1) on Friday, Sept. 9 at 5:00 p.m. and then wrap up the weekend against the host team Fairfield (1-1-1) on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 2:30 p.m.