BALTIMORE, Md. - Senior Morgan Keefe (South Burlington, Vt.) scored with just 7:29 remaining in regulation to lift the University of New Hampshire women's soccer team to a 3-2 victory against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Thursday afternoon at the UMBC Soccer Stadium.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 4-12-1 on the season, including 3-4-0 in America East play, and assure themselves of a spot in the America East tournament for a ninth consecutive season, the league's longest active streak. UNH can grab the fifth seed with a win over Binghamton on Sunday, paired with an Albany loss to Maine, or the sixth seed with a loss or tie, coupled with an Albany loss or tie. The Retrievers fall to 2-13-1 overall and 1-6-0 in the conference.
Keefe, UNH's America East Player of the Game, tallied the game winner in the 83rd minute when a free kick from senior Meg Wiley (Norwell, Mass.) sailed into the box, where Keefe used a header to beat UMBC goalkeeper Mo Van Vlerah and give UNH a 3-2 lead. Wiley's assist marked the first point of her collegiate career. The goal marked the second time this year that Keefe, the Wildcats' leading scorer this season, tied a match or gave her team the lead with a tally in the final eight minutes. Against Siena on Sept. 6, Keefe tied the game at two and sent it to overtime with just 1:00 on the clock.
UMBC grabbed a 1-0 lead just 7:32 into the game when Christine Sadowski's free kick was knocked into the net from six yards out by Sandra Vacarino.
The Wildcats stormed back, however, knotting the game at one in the 28th minute when freshman Monique Lamotte (Tampa, Fla.) took the ball from a pair of UMBC defenders and lobbed the ball over Van Vlerah's head from the top of the box.
UNH went in front 2-1 in the 40th minute after senior Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) made a long run down the left side and placed the ball just inside the far post to beat Van Vlerah.
After the break, UMBC tied the game at two apiece when Katie Gitlin dribbled through the defense on the left side and sent a cross to Vacarino, who beat UNH senior goalkeeper Ally Yost (Langhorne, Pa.) for her second goal of the game. Vacarino was named UMBC's America East Player of the Game.
Yost made three saves, while Van Vlerah stopped four shots.
UNH outshot UMBC, 20-12, while corner kicks were even at two each.
The Wildcats return to action and wrap up their regular season Sunday, Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. when they play host to Binghamton University on Senior Day at Lewis Fields.