ORONO, Maine — It was Seniors Day for six members of the University of Maine’s women’s soccer team at Alumni Field Thursday afternoon.
They could have renamed it “State of Maine Day.”
Three in-state players combined for all four second-half goals and the Black Bears posted a 4-0 America East victory over Stony Brook on a raw, drizzly day.
Junior striker Hannah Breton of Greenville had a pair of goals and an assist; junior midfielder Kelsey Wilson of Gorham broke a scoreless tie and Lewiston senior striker Laura Martel scored her team-high 11th goal of the season as Maine dominated play en route to a third straight shutout win.
Maine has one league game remaining and moved a step closer to earning a home playoff game as it improved to 4-2-1 in league play, 6-9-2 overall. Stony Brook fell to 5-2-1 and 6-9-2 overall.
A win or a draw at Albany on Sunday would sew up a home- field berth for the Bears, who could still finish second and earn a first-round bye. The third and fourth seeds host playoff games against the sixth and fifth seeds, respectively.
Veronique Fleury and Carolyn Nellis had assists and freshman goalkeeper Meagan Price-Leibenzeder made three saves on 13 shots at goal for her sixth shutout of the season.
Maine generated 29 shots at goal, forcing the Seawolves’ Marisa Viola to make nine saves.
“We wanted it more than they did,” said Martel.
“The second half may have been the best half we’ve played all season, especially considering the step up we made from the first half,” said Maine coach Scott Atherley.
Maine controlled the first half but wasn’t able to convert that dominance into a goal.
Wilson and Breton scored within the first 6:18 of the second half to supply the Bears with a lead that was never seriously threatened.
Wilson’s second goal of the season came just 1:17 into the second half on a 30-yard shot from the right side off a diagonal pass from Fleury.
“I had time. I didn’t have to rush my shot,” said Wilson. “The goalie [Viola] was out so I tried to put it over her.”
Wilson’s curled her perfectly placed shot over Viola, who got a piece of her hand on it but not enough to keep it out of the net.
Breton scored her third goal of the year off the rebound of a Martel shot during a wild flurry.
Cristina Di Ielsi’s through ball sent Martel in alone down the right flank but her shot squarely hit the far post. Martel took another shot that deflected off a defender over to Breton, who tapped it into the empty net from two yards out.
“I just crashed the net,” said Breton.
Breton’s next goal came at the 68:17 mark and was set up by Nellis, who maneuvered past a defender to reach the end line and then crossed it back to the middle of the penalty area where Breton’s side-volley cleanly beat Viola to the far side.
“It was a perfect cross,” said Breton.
Martel capped the scoring by tucking the ball past Viola when a corner kick landed at the feet of Stephanie Frenette-Blais and her shot deflected to Martel off Breton’s body.
“We played with a lot more conviction in the attacking third in the second half,” said Atherley.
“Maine brought their A game. They did a great job in the second half,” said Stony Brook coach Sue Ryan.
Di Ielsi, Wilson and Maddie Hill controlled the midfield and fueled Maine’s attack while also limiting the Seawolves’ counter-attack chances.