ORONO – The University of Maine women’s soccer team did a lot of things right in their America East game against Hartford Sunday afternoon.
Generating good scoring chances off its significant possession advantage wasn’t one of them and it cost the Bears dearly when Hartford’s Meagan Riemer converted off a Maine turnover with 3:14 in the first overtime to supply the Hawks with a 1-0 triumph.
Hartford improved to 6-8 overall, 4-0 in league play. Maine fell to 10-2-1 and 2-2, respectively, and the loss will probably cost the Bears their national ranking (23rd in the latest national poll).
Hartford’s Sara Flowers set the play in motion that led to the goal when an errant pass by Maine fullback Jordon Pekrul landed right at her feet 30 yards from the Maine goal.
She quickly passed the ball to the left flank to the open Brittany Black, creating a two-on-one.
“I took a touch, the defender came at me and I saw [Riemer],” said Black, who slipped the ball across to Riemer racing toward the goal.
Riemer, Hartford’s leading scorer, said Maine goalie Jasmine Phillips “came out a little bit and the far post was open.”
Riemer calmly struck her low 12-yard shot ball between the diving Phillips’ right hand and the post for her sixth goal of the season.
“It was a really well-placed shot,” said Phillips, who wound up with three saves on nine shots.
Maine clearly dominated the first half and created some opportunities in a more evenly played second half.
The Bears won a healthy portion of 50-50 balls and strung together some nice passing sequences throughout.
But their play in the attacking third left a lot to be desired as their crosses were ineffective, they made poor decisions with the ball and the Hartford backs, led by Kellie Leyland and Stephanie D’Aurio, made it difficult for them to penetrate the penalty area.
“We were able to close down the ball,” said Hartford goalie Liz Cook, who finished with six saves on 17 shots. “And even when we didn’t win the ball, our defense forced them deep so their crosses were easy for me to handle.”
“We made the game easy for their goalie,” said Maine coach Scott Atherley.
Natalie Berry had Maine’s best chance with 12 minutes left in regulation as she quickly darted into the penalty area with a Veronique Fleury pass.
“I knew I had to come off my line and make myself big,” said Cook, who dove and smothered Berry’s shot.
“The goalie cut off my angle and blocked the shot,” said Berry. “We just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net today. That happens.”