Semi-final loss a win for Lady Beacons

Sebastian Lena

As the final seconds of the Lady Beacons’ season ticked away, the scoreboard read 4-0 in favor of Western Connecticut. The score might have suggested poor play by UMass Boston, but similar to their 8-11-2 record, the numbers were misleading.

The Lady Beacons’ improbable run took them to Danbury, CT, where they found themselves playing number-one seed Western Connecticut for a spot in the LEC finals. Although the Beacons were out shot in the first half, 15-0, sophomore goalkeeper Ashley McRoberts’s outstanding play kept the game socreless.

McRoberts did all that she could, but the 30-2 shot advantage for Western Connecticut proved to be a little too much. Although the end result was a 4-0 loss, the Lady Beacons did not quit until the final whistle.

UMass Boston head coach Amy Zombeck said that fatigue was a key factor in the outcome.

“I think Western Connecticut was well rested,” she said. “We started to get tired. However, this is a team that fought to the very end and the stats and scores do not always show that.”

Senior Captain Kristi Morales agreed with her coach about the team’s fight. She also provided an explanation for the lopsided shot differential.

“I think we played scared,” she said. “We played more defensively, trying to stop them from scoring rather than trying to score ourselves. All in all they are a very good team and we held our own against them.”

Western Connecticut head coach Joe Mingachos couldn’t agree more.

“It wasn’t easy,” Mingachos said. “That’s an entirely different program over there. Amy [Zombeck] has done an unbelievable job. She has really turned that program around. They made us work for everything we got.”

Zombeck saw this game as another example of the fight of this year’s squad.

“This team has left it all on the field for 21 games,” she said. “I could not be more proud of this group. This is a special group that put UMB women’s soccer on the map.”

Just getting to the playoffs could have achieved that for the Lady Beacons, but they didn’t stop there. They went on to record the team’s first ever playoff victory with a convincing 4-0 victory over UMass Darthmouth last Tuuesday.

“Getting to the playoffs was huge,” Morales said. “We came out with intensity and played the best game I’ve ever seen. It gave us confidence going into the semi-finals because we knew nobody in the conference believed in us.”

Although the Lady Beacons fell one game short of their ultimate goal, there are a lot of positives to take away from this season and the playoff appearance.

Morales can take solace in the milestones her team reached this season.

“[No UMass Boston team] had ever won a conference game, and we did it,” she said. “We shattered countless amounts of records and we did it with our heads held high and with very little support from anyone in the conference.”

Zombeck saw it as providing the right tools for rebuilding in the off-season.

“We need to take this year’s playoff experience and know that we are capable of being there in the future,” she said. “It’s a young team, and how we build together in the off-season will be key for our future. It’s a group that knows how to win, and will learn how to find more ways to win.”

Morales said, “We proved so many people wrong that we weren’t just that ‘old UMass Boston team’ that was an easy win,” she said. “We upset so many teams and we will continue to improve until we can compete with the best of the best.”