February 18, 2018
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Opportunistic Iona battles Black Bears to tie


ORONO, Maine — The Iona College Gaels were certainly the happier of the two teams after Sunday’s 2-2 overtime tie with the University of Maine.

The opportunistic Gaels (1-3-1) were significantly outplayed to the tune of a 28-9 shots-at-goal margin, but erased a pair of one-goal deficits by answering within six minutes.

“It definitely feels like a loss,” said Maine midfielder Kelsey Wilson. “We can’t let down after we score. We need to focus on that.”

“We’re obviously disappointed with the result,” said Maine coach Scott Atherley. “We had two leads and, typically, when we’re at home, we don’t surrender leads.”

Iona sophomore right back Lisa Murer, who had a hand in both goals, said she was “proud of the way we came back. When we went down by a goal, we came back even more determined to win.”

The 1-2-1 Black Bears parlayed their noticeable size and strength advantage and prowess in the air to carve out an impressive edge in ball possession.

But they squandered chances with poor passes, wayward shots or bad decisions in the attacking third.

Meanwhile, Iona’s speedy front line generated some dangerous counterattacks and that’s how the Gaels scored.

Senior midfielder Laura Martel scored both goals for Maine but Gabriella D’Aprile and Mariel Pepe equalized.

Martel opened the scoring 8:30 into the game when she re-directed a header, off a Carolyne Nellis header from a Wilson corner, past Iona goalie Suzanne Baldissard.

Murer helped set up D’Aprile’s goal 5:05 later with a slicing run and pass over to Carly Villanova, who fed it to the oncoming D’Aprile.

D’Aprile roofed a rising shot past Maine goalie Meagan Price-Leibenzeder.

Martel made it 2-1 at the 71:20 mark when she outraced a defender to a Veronique Fleury pass and converted.

“I had a pretty good first touch, the goalie came out and left me a pretty good angle on the far post, and I was able to put it in,” said Martel.

Pepe tied it just 2:17 later after an unmarked Caitlin Steinberg was set up perfectly by Murer only to have Price-Leibenzeder dive out bravely smother her shot.

But the rebound glanced over to the unattended Pepe.

“I crashed the goal hoping to get my foot on it. A defender was behind me so I was able to get to the ball and beat the goalie with a shot to the far post,” said Pepe.

Martel had a great chance late in the second OT off a break-in but she elected to pass it across to Josee Descoeurs and Baldissard snared the pass.

“The goalie had a pretty good angle on me so I tried to pass it over. I should have passed it back a little bit more,” said Martel.

Price-Leibenzeder finished with four saves while Baldissard ended up with six.

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