|UM-Fort Kent||Gordon College|
WENHAM, Mass.—A two-goal effort from Sherifatu Sumalia (Tamale, Ghana) helped Maine-Fort Kent complete a second-half comeback to spoil Gordon’s home opener in women’s soccer action on Thursday. The Fighting Scots held a 1-0 lead at the halftime break, but Sumalia evened the score to force overtime before firing home the clincher in the second overtime for the 2-1 victory.
The defending USCAA national champions, Maine-Fort Kent showed its offensive prowess from beginning to end. The Bengals quick counter attack led to a flurry of opportunities in the early going, but Gordon’s back line held steady. Sumalia accounted for 16 of Fort Kent’s 31 shots in the game and tested rookie keeper Kali Denty (Marshfield, Mass.) on more than one occasion.
With the Fighting Scots holding firm on defense, the midfield was able to create more space on the counter and it ultimately led to a prime chance in the 31st minute.
Gordon turned a UMFK turnover around midfield into a chance down the right corner, as sophomore Jill Kefalas (Wenham, Mass.) beat her mark on the outside. The striker found enough daylight to get a clear look at the goal, but her initial attempt was snuffed out by goalkeeper Valentina Green (Mission Viejo, Calif.). The ball shot back into the air across the face of the net where junior Jessica Harper (Mansfield, Ohio) was waiting for the easy tap, her first goal as a Scot after transferring from Mount Vernon Nazarene.
The Bengals looked more settled in the second half despite trailing by a goal. Nearly two-thirds into regulation, Fort Kent’s persistence paid off in the form of a nice transition goal. Sumalia’s combination of strength and speed up top gave the Scots more trouble as the game waned, which set up a chance in the 58th minute. The junior forward received a ball through the seam of the field from Marie-Laurence Montagne (Montreal, Quebec) with her back to the goal. Sumalia took a one-step turn and sent a ball into the corner for the equalizer.
With the pressure still on late in regulation, Denty became an instant sensation for the Fighting Scots. The rookie keeper made two diving stops that looked like sure goals off the foot and commanded the back line well in her debut.
The next 50 minutes went by without any scoring, although both teams had a handful of chances to put the game away in their favor.
Ultimately, Sumalia’s constant pressure gave the Bengals the edge in the late stages and the junior ended Gordon’s hopes of a result with a similar-looking strike in the 104th minute. The second goal was assisted by Jennifer Cudjoe (Accra, Ghana).
Green made three saves in her collegiate debut for the Bengals, while Denty picked up nine stops for the Fighting Scots.
— Submitted by Gordon College athletics