WORCESTER – Kristen McCrea (Weymouth, MA) and Erin Bracken (Bridgewater, MA) registered goals and Gabi Hoops (Stoughton, MA) notched her eighth career shutout as the WPI women's soccer team moved into sole possession of first place in the NEWMAC with a 2-0 victory over visiting Coast Guard on Tuesday.
The Engineers, ranked fifth in the latest NSCAA New England Coaches Poll, are now 9-2-1 overall and 4-1 in conference play. WPI sits atop the NEWMAC standings with 12 points, while MIT (3-1) and Babson (3-2) both have nine and Wellesley (2-1, six points), Smith (1-1-2, four points), Springfield (1-1-2, four points) and Clark (1-1, three points), all lurking with just one conference loss. Coast Guard slips to 3-4-4 on the season and 0-2-2 in NEWMAC action.
The hosts dented the scoring late in the 13th minute when Mari Bailey (North Providence, RI) threaded a lovely pass through the Coast Guard to a streaking Kristen McCrea (Weymouth, MA), who broke in alone on the Coast Guard goalie and buried a low shot into the right corner for her third goal of the season at 12:55. McCrea nearly doubled the advantage in the 34th when she look a long pass from Karina Larson (Storrs, CT) but her breakaway bid was denied by an impressive save by Bear goalkeeper Rachel Boohar (Oxford, MA).
After a first half that saw limited shots and only a few scoring opportunities, the second half featured plenty of both. WPI's Sophie Gomarlo (Swanzey, NH) got ahead of most of the Bear defense but the guests were able to recover and block her shot in the 54th minute. Brianna Grisell (Brookfield, CT) launched a strong shot for Coast Guard three minutes later but it was stopped by Crimson and Gray goalie Gabi Hoops (Stonington, CT). The Bears found the outside of the post on a long shot by Claire Hurley (Waterford, CT) in the 64th minute but the ball bounced harmlessly out of bounds for a goal kick.
For that point most of the scoring chances were for the hosts. Jaime Espinola (Greensboro, NC) crossed a ball beautifully through the box that two players just barely missed getting a foot on and Boohar made a nice play just outside the box with her head to thwart another WPI opportunity. The Engineers finally got the insurance marker when Bracken took a cross from McCrea from the right side and buried a low shot to the far post with just over five minutes remaining for her team-best fifth goal of the season and 12th of her career.
Both goalies made four shots on the night. Hoops is now 9-2-1 on the season with six clean sheets. WPI held a 13-5 bulge in shots and an 8-4 edge in corner kicks.
WPI has the NEWMAC bye this coming weekend and steps out of conference to play at Roger Williams on Sunday at 1pm. Coast Guard beings a two-game homestand on Saturday, hosting Babson at 1pm.
Click HERE if the video does not appear below