Pearce, Lombardi Score to Lead Bears to First NEWMAC Win of the Season

Brielle Pearce
Brielle Pearce

NEW LONDON, Conn. – Coast Guard battled back from an early one goal deficit to take down WPI 2-1 in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action Saturday afternoon.

With the win, the Bears improve to 4-3-0 overall and 1-1-0 in conference play. The Engineers drop to 5-4-0 on the season and 0-2-0 in the NEWMAC.

Freshman Brielle Pearce and sophomore Felicia Lombardi both scored for Coast Guard while junior Claire Hurley and sophomore Kat Retz each had an assist. Hurley leads the NEWMAC with six assists on the year and is one off the single season record held by Sarah Giardina who had seven assists in 2000.

Sophomore Leah Beauton was the lone goal scorer for WPI while graduate student Kara Martin had the assist.

The Engineers wasted little time finding the first goal of the game as Martin played Beauton through the right side of the Bears defense. Beauton touched the ball ahead and fired a shot to the opposite corner for her fifth goal of the season giving WPI a 1-0 lead in the 13thminute.

Coast Guard pressed for an equalizer and found it in the 30thminute as Hurley sent a free kick into the Engineers penalty box. Senior Gabriela Hoops rose up to grab the service but was unable to hold it. Pearce came charging in and volleyed the ball into the back of the net making the halftime score 1-1. 

Lombardi found the game winner with 50:39 on the clock when Retz slipped Lombardi through the WPI back four. Lombardi ran on to the pass, dribbled in on goal and fired it into the back of the net for her first goal of the season.

The rest of the game was a showcase of the goalkeepers as freshman Katharina Commins kept Coast Guard in front with back-to-back saves. The first save came off a shot from junior Kristen McCrea headed for the right corner of the goal. Commins dove to her left and pushed the ball to the outside of the post for a corner kick.

Off the corner kick, junior Kirsten Southan attempted to dip a shot into the goal. Commins punched the shot straight up and caught the rebound to kill the attack and keep Coast Guard ahead with just over 30 minutes left in the game.

Hoops was called on next for the Engineers when Pearce was fouled in the box giving the Bears a penalty kick. Pearce struck the ball to the left corner but Hoops dove and held the shot keeping WPI within one with 65:26 on the clock.

The Engineers had the final shot to tie the game as they earned a free kick with five seconds left in the game. WPI however fired the shot into the wall and the Coast Guard defense cleared it away for their first NEWMAC win of the season.

Commins (4-3-0) made two saves on three shots on goal for her first NEWMAC victory.

Hoops (5-4-0) made four saves on six shots on goal. Hoops is fourth in the conference with a .826 save percentage.

The Bears are back in action on Monday, September 24th, when they travel to Providence, Rhode Island to take on Johnson & Wales in nonconference play. Opening kickoff is 6:00.

2018 Women's Soccer Preview
August 29, 2018 2018 Women's Soccer Preview