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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Beacons Show Signs of Life in Tie With RIC

The University of Massachusetts Boston Women’s Soccer team entered the final weekend of September with optimism, despite winning just one game so far in their campaign. Their good fortune has been refined in large part by a young roster, where of the team’s 22 players, only one is a senior.
This youth and inexperience often comes with having to find the right combinations for their attack, and that search has been a factor in their offense, which had scored just five goals and were shut out in five of their eight games heading into the weekend. More than half of those goals came in their lone win of the year, a 3-2 win over Emerson College. Unfortunately, their next test would not be an easy one, going into Providence, Rhode Island against the Rhode Island College Anchorwomen squad who have three wins to their credit, while looking to establish themselves as a contender in the Little East Conference.
On Sept. 24, fears of yet another slow start became reality, as Eleni Grammas pounced on a scoring opportunity in the twenty-eighth minute to give RIC the 1-0 lead and Grammas’s fourth goal of the season, with assists from Chelsea Combs and Stephanie Ricci. The Anchorwomen had additional chances to boost the advantage with their dominance in possession, only for Beacon goalkeeper Alyssa Fugiel to turn them away. She finished with six saves in the first half.
The second half favored RIC, but Fugiel would again stand her ground in the Beacon goal, stopping all six second-half opportunities and giving UMass Boston a monumental morale boost for the final minutes as they sought the tying goal. They got their best opportunity in the final minute of regulation time, when they were awarded a penalty kick from an Anchorwomen foul committed in their penalty box. Alexandria Levesque, the lone Beacon senior, struck the tying penalty past Amber Marie-Francois to level the score just six seconds from the 90-minute mark.
“Everything was just a blur, a lot of adrenaline that came out after we scored. I couldn’t think,” said Levesque.
The first overtime saw a revitalized Beacons team push for the win, getting off three solid shots at the RIC goal, only for Marie-Francois to turn them all away. The second overtime saw both rosters drained of energy, and a tie was certain. Fugiel faced one last Anchorwomen shot from Leah Graviel in the middle of the period, but would smother the hope for a victory, as they settled for a well-deserved 1-1 tie.           
When asked for thoughts on her performance, which was a big part of the outcome, Fugiel, who finished the game with 14 saves, replied, “It’s about finding the right positions and roles for our players. The back line worked well in my support.”
Asked about being the lone senior on a young team, Levesque admitted it was very hard, but had praise for some of the team’s qualities. “There’s a lot of freshmen on this team, but they put a good work rate together.”
Head Coach Amy Zombeck shared similar praise, despite the various obstacles the team has faced: “They fought ‘til the end, and became resilient. They’ve continued to fight and battle, even as they’ve had to cope with tight schedules from practices, classes, travelling, and early game times, among other things. But we’re getting some of our players back from injuries, we can turn this around, and we can play well enough that we’ll qualify for the Little East playoffs.”
More performances like the one given this weekend can make a return to the LEC playoffs a reality. 
Coverage and game broadcast information for the women’s soccer team can be followed through beaconsathletics.com