15th Time’s the Charm for the Beacons

Sebastian Lena

The UMass Boston women’s soccer team found themselves in position to make history yet again.

On Saturday, October 10, the Western Connecticut State Colonials came into the Clark Athletic Center Field with a modest 6-6-0 (2-1-0) record. Although boasting a superior 8-2-1 (2-0-1) record, the Beacons came into this match as the definite underdogs.

As is the case when you’re playing a team that’s had your number since 1995.

In their 14 year history, the Beacons have squared off with the Colonials 14 times. The Colonials have walked away with a victory every single time. This includes last year’s 4-0 victory in the LEC Conference tournament semi-finals. In fact, the Colonials have had so much success against their conference foe that they’ve never allowed the Beacons to score. In that same time period, they’ve torched the Beacons for 84 goals. That’s an average score of 6-0.

To say the Beacons needed this win would be an understatement.

And after 84 minutes of a hard fought battle, it looked like the Beacons scoreless streak against the Colonials would go on.

That is, until sophomore forward Kristin Mulry found the upper right corner of the net for her conference leading 12th goal of the season.

6 minutes later, it was over.

The game. The streak. The drought. The torture.

The Beacons’ first ever goal against the Colonials was good enough for their first ever win against them as well.

1-84 doesn’t look a whole lot better than 0-84. But the Beacons will take it.

“This win was huge for us,” said senior captain Kristi Morales. “We used to be a guaranteed win for the other teams in the conference. Now we just beat the team that has won the conference the past three years. It’s a huge accomplishment.”

It was also a great way to cap off what was a pretty nice week for the Beacons.

The Beacons started it off by playing conference foe Eastern Connecticut to a double-overtime tie. They followed that with a 10-0 clobbering of Newbury College. Then wrapped it up with this historical 1-0 victory over Western Connecticut.

To those who still doubted it, there’s your proof. These Beacons are for real.

“A lot of people saw our season last year as lucky,” said junior goalkeeper Michelle Cain. “But after beating such highly ranked teams in the conference, people will finally be able to see that it’s just not luck.”

Forget luck. This season’s success can be largely credited to the Beacons’ increased goal production.

Last season, the Beacons netted a total of 44 goals. Through 12 games this season, the Beacons already have 39.

Head coach Amy Zombeck offers an explanation.

“The biggest reason for the increased goal production is capitalizing on our opportunities,” she explained. “This group fights for every inch in order to score goals.”

Morales brings up the addition of junior forward Tina Gillen.

“With Tina, we now have 2 solid forwards,” she said. “So the defense can’t just man mark one. It creates a lot of problems for our opponents.”

That it has.

While Mulry leads the Beacons with 12 goals. Gillen is second on the squad with 5 herself. Each have proven fully capable of putting the ball in the the back of the net at any time.

The two have probably also enjoyed the Beacons 2-to-1 advantage in shots this season.

They can thank the Beacons’ suffocating defense for that one.

“Our defense has been unbelievable,” Zombeck said. “Everyone has stepped up and kept an open mind about playing a new system. They have meshed together better than anyone ever expected. When one is beat, there is another right there to back them up.”

And if there isn’t, there’s always Cain in net.

Through 8 games in between the posts, Cain has been spectacular. She has a 6-0-1 record to go along with 3 shutouts. Both her Goals allowed average of 0.41 and her save percentage of 0.925 lead the conference. Add to that, she has now gone a school-record 393:23 minutes without allowing a goal.

Not bad for someone who had second thoughts about switching to the position.

“At first, I wasn’t very accepting to the idea,” Cain admitted. “But after talking to some of the other girls, I realized that I needed to step up and stop being selfish. When I accepted the position, it became a lot easier for me to get better at it. It also helps to have a [great] defense that doesn’t allow the other team to get too many shots off.”

Excelling in every facet of the game, the Beacons now find themselves with a golden opportunity.

They travel to New Hampshire to take on conference leader Keene State. If the Beacons pull off a victory, they will have sole possession of first place in the LEC.

“We have to go to Keene determined and ready to play,” Zombeck said. “Keene is a very good team. We have to create and win the 50/50 ball battle. If we do that, anything is possible.”