SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Sophomore defender Kayla Loycano scored in the 89th minute and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (UMD) soccer team held on for the 1-0 victory over Mount Holyoke College on Saturday. With the win, the Corsairs are now 1-0, while the Lyons slip to 1-1 on the young season.
A hard-fought scoreless battle was finally broken in the 89th minute as the Corsairs capitalized on a frenzied scramble in front of the net. Senior midfielder Talia D'Ambruoso (Warwick, R.I./Pilgrim) sent a long cross into the middle off the corner attempt. The ball pinballed in the scramble as UMD was able to draw out the Lyons' goalie on quick shot that was blocked out.
The loose ball careened out to Loycano (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford), who headed the shot in toward the open net. A Mount Holyoke defender was able to get a piece of the ball, but it ricocheted to the left side for the score and eventual game-winner.
Mount Holyoke was unable to generate any momentum in the remaining minute as the Corsairs defense kept tight control of play to seal the victory.
UMass-Dartmouth came out with a high tempo style to open the game as a shot by senior defender Kayli Berche (Fairhaven, Mass./Fairhaven) went just high, while a ball in off the foot of senior forward Lucy Jensen (Boxborough, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) was saved by Lyons' keeper Zoe Marshall (Mississauga, Ont./Cawthra Park Secondary School) in the 13th minute.
The Lyons had a pair of solid chances as well in the 21st minute as first year midfielder Cora Melcher (Portland, Maine/Casco Bay) rifled in a well-placed corner kick. Rookie middie McKenna Lamb (Redland, Calif./The Webb Schools) and sophomore forward Sara Sanaú Ruiz (Zaragoza, Spain/P.P. Dominicos – Cardenal Xavierre) both had header attempts, but went just wide of the net.
The second half of action saw the Corsairs grab the momentum as they held MHC to a 14-2 margin in shots for the stanza. Marshall made a number of key stops for the Lyons in the middle of the frame as she scooped up a pair of shots from Berche and a strong attempt down the middle by junior midfielder Abby Silva (Fall River, Mass./Bishop Stang) to keep the game scoreless.
With less than 10 minutes to play, D'Ambruoso nearly got the visitors on the board after she sent a bulleted shot straight in on goal, but Marshall – who made nine saves in the half – was there for the side catch and stop.
Corsairs keeper Madison Boucher (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) earned the victory in goal, stopping three shots on the day. For MHC, Marshall posted 13 stops on the afternoon and is now 1-1 overall.
Mount Holyoke returns to the pitch on Tuesday when it travels to Amherst College for a 7pm match. UMass-Dartmouth is right back in action on Sunday when it travels to Wentworth for a 2pm game.
Photo courtesy of RJB Sports Photography.