ORONO, Maine — Prior to their mutual America East opener against the University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Maine women’s soccer coach Scott Atherley and assistant Jackie Gebhart impressed upon their players to try to capitalize on the wet field by shooting whenever they got the chance.
So freshman midfielder Maddie Hill launched an ambitious 35-yard shot that took a crazy bounce over the shoulder of sophomore goalie Mo Van Vierah and started the Black Bears on their way to an impressive 7-0 victory.
It was the most goals scored by the Bears since they beat Charleston Southern (S.C.) 7-0 on Sept. 4, 2004.
Lewiston senior striker Laura Martel notched her second career hat trick and also had an assist for the 4-3-1 Black Bears, who are now 2-0 with their new 4-3-3 formation (four backs, three midfielders, three strikers) and have scored 11 goals in those wins.
They had scored six goals in their first six games using a 4-4-2 (four backs, four midfielders, two strikers) alignment.
Stephanie Frenette-Blais, Veronique Fleury and Carolyne Nellis scored the other goals for Maine. Kelsey Wilson had a pair of assists, with Fleury, Alli Krous and Cristina Di Ielsi collecting one apiece. Meagan Price-Leibenzeder and Elizabeth Deletetsky made two saves on eight shots.
Van Vierah had six saves on 21 shots for 0-7-1 UMBC, which beat Maine 1-0 a year ago.
Hill admitted she was shocked her shot went in for her first collegiate goal.
“I got pretty lucky. It took a nice little skip. [Atherley] and Jackie told us to take shots because the ball was going to skip and we would have people following up for rebounds,” said Hill. “It was good to keep it on the target.”
“It was like it hit a rock,” said UMBC coach Alyssa Radu.
That came 12:20 into the game and Martel expanded the lead to 3-0 with goals 8:01 apart later in the first half.
Di Ielsi, who teamed up with Hill and Wilson to control the midfield and fuel the attack, set up Martel’s goal by taking a Fleury pass, striding down the left flank and sending a low cross to the far post.
“I was wide open and I touched it in,” said Martel.
Martel’s next goal came off a long diagonal pass from Wilson.
Martel touched it around a defender while running left to right and calmly deposited it past Van Vierah.
Frenette-Blais’ first college goal opened the second half as she ran on to a ball laid back to her by Wilson and hit a medium-paced, head-high shot that deflected in off the hands of Van Vierah. Fleury had an easy side-foot finish after Martel slipped the ball through a defender’s legs and crossed it to her.
Nellis scored with a diving header off a scramble and Martel capped her hat trick by outracing the UMBC defense to a Krous through ball and slotting it past Van Vierah.
“To be able to get five different people to score goals is great,” said Martel who has a team-high eight goals.
“One of our goals for today was to have more composure in the final [attacking] third and our kids did that real well,” said Atherley.
“Maine is much improved over last year,” said Radu.