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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Women’s soccer loses LEC title match in shootout

The+final+goal+in+the+shootout+went+just+past+the+outstretched+arm+of+Dani+Perkins
The final goal in the shootout went just past the outstretched arm of Dani Perkins

When Krista Ledin, Dani Perkins, Cindy Cortes, Caitlin Coleman, and Amanda Pugliese first stepped foot on campus back in 2011, the University of Massachusetts Boston had never won a Women’s Soccer conference championship. They leave the campus having won in 2012 and having led the Beacons to their best four year stretch in program history. However, that stretch ended in heartbreak when the squad lost to Keene State, 2-1 (4-3 PKs) in the LEC title match at the Clark Center on Nov. 8. The Beacons once again found regular season success, but this year it was a grind rather than domination. They finish the season at 11-4-6. There were certainly shaky periods throughout the year but the group caught fire around tournament time behind some stellar goaltending and timely offense.
Ledin, who scored her 100th career goal last month, headed home a cross from Marina Kelly in the 65th minute to break a scoreless draw with the Owls, who also won the tournament last year and came into this year’s bracket as the fourth seed. Keene State’s Taylor Farland was able to tie the match up with just seven minutes remaining, sending it into overtime. The OT period was scoreless and a very tense bout of penalty kicks followed with the Beacons losing, 4-3. Ledin led off the shootout with a goal but Ericka Garufi and Natasha Stibor both missed their shots, putting the Beacons down 2-1. Although Hannah Peterson and Sam Bendick put shots in for UMass Boston, they could not dig themselves out of the hole. Keene only missed one shot.
The Beacons qualified for the finals with a 5-2 win over Eastern Connecticut State in the semis.
For coach Amy Zombeck’s group, the story of the 2014 season will center around getting hot at the right time. They went 7-4-5 to start the regular season before rattling off four wins in a row. They didn’t lose a match Oct. 23 to Nov. 8. During their streak, the Beacons outscored their opponents 16-5. A major factor in their success down the stretch was goalie Dani Perkins, who had a sterling 10-1-3 record this year with a 1.21 goals against average. Of course, Ledin’s production, as always, was a factor in their success. Ledin also showed a great ability to create chances for others this season, tallying ten assists, trailing only Marina Kelly’s 11. 
The Beacons have 58 wins over the last four years, which is by far the most in stretch of that length in program history. They know both triumph and heartbreak, from a 2012 LEC Tournament victory to a first round loss in 2013 and this tough finals loss. They will be graduating a lot of talent but there is no reason to expect a drop off.