Women’s soccer scores Senior Day shutout
By Lamya Zikry
The UAlbany women’s soccer team won 1-0 against Maine on Senior Day on Sunday, Oct. 25 at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium earning them the 2-seed in the America East Tournament.
Two-seed UAlbany (9-8-1, 4-3-1 AE) finished the regular season with 13 points in conference play. This win led to a three game winning streak and it is the highest seeding in the program’s history. UAlbany earned the tiebreaker over Maine (9-7-1, 4-3-1 AE) and Vermont. Both teams also finished with 13 points.
“Having another home game is everything,” said team captain Celia Balf. “I’m so excited. It’s the first time in program history that UAlbany women’s soccer is the 2-seed. You get the home field advantage. We have the whole week to prepare. It’s an amazing win.”
UAlbany outshot Maine 13-9 in the game and had seven corner kicks to its opponent’s four.
“We closed off any threats Maine had. Their number 10 (Charlene Achille) is a really good player but defensively we were able to deny her the ball. And all over the field we were on top of them,” said Balf.
UAlbany held a ceremony on the field before the game for Senior Day.
Before the game, the annual Senior Day ceremony was held on the field to honor the graduating Great Danes. Balf, Shelby Belak, Alana Brennan, Allison Carhart, Krista Fitzpatrick, Kelly Kempf, Leanne Miller and Kari Quinn were honored before their final regular season home game.
UAlbany controlled the pace of the game in the first half despite the wind not being in their favor. In the first 15 minutes, Caitlyn Paltsios got a couple of shots but was unable to connect on them. Fitzpatrick took a free kick from just outside the penalty box but goalkeeper, Claudia Dube-Trempe jumped for the ball, making the save.
In the next 15 minutes both sides tried to set up the offense, but neither team got shots.
In the 40th minute, Paltsios got a corner kick on the left side. It arced into the goal off the inside of the keeper’s hand, putting UAlbany in the lead 1-0, the eventual halftime score. That was the first goal of the season for Paltsios.
“I feel great about it, it wasn’t what I expected but it works,” said Paltsios in regards to scoring her first goal of the season.
“We turned it on. We knew we had no option but to come out with a win and especially on senior day we were up for the win,” said Belak. “They’re a good team and they’re strong, we just played our game and we came out on top. We knew our season was on the line and we all want to win more than anything so that was enough to push us.”
In the opening minutes of the second half, Maine came out with a couple of shots. Vivien Beil attempted a long range shot in the 49th minute but Alana Olivieri caught the ball for the save.
Caroline Kopp kicked the ball towards the net off of a deflected corner kick but a defender blocked it, killing the attempt.
In the 71st minute, Achille broke away from the back line and tried to make a shot but Olivieri ran forward and dove, blocking Achille’s shot out of bounds.
In the 74th minute, Mariah Williams ran past the Maine defense line and got one-on-one with keeper, Dube-Trempe, but William’s shot was saved.The ball went to Vivian Vega who shot it but missed off the crossbar.
In the 75th minute, Maine earned another corner kick attempt. Beil’s corner went to Achille who headed the ball but it went above the crossbar, earning them nothing.
UAlbany’s defense held off Maine for the remainder of the game and took the victory 1-0 over Maine.
“The team did a really good job at managing the game. There was definitely points in the game where we were controlling the flow and had our foot on the gas pedal and there were times when Maine was pressing us,” said head coach Caitlin Cucchiella. “But throughout the whole game our team stayed mentally tuned in. We just worked together and that’s how we got through those 90 minutes.”
“We came out ready to play and we came into this game not knowing if we’ll play on this field again, and now we will,” said Fitzpatrick.
UAlbany received a bye and will play against the winner of 3-seed Vermont and 6-seed UMBC on Sunday, Nov. 1st at 4 p.m. at Casey Stadium.