WORCESTER – Freshman Kristen McCrea (Weymouth, MA) notched a goal and an assist to help WPI establish a new school record for victories in a season by knocking off visiting Smith 2-1 in a NEWMAC women's soccer matchup on Tuesday evening.
With the victory, the Engineers, fifth in the most recent NSCAA New England Top 10, improve their record to 12-2-1 overall and 6-1 in conference play. The 12 victories sets a new school record for wins in a season. The Crimson and Gray won 11 contests back in 2001 and equaled that total a season ago. The triumph also ties WPI with MIT, which had the NEWMAC bye on Tuesday, atop the NEWMAC standings with 18 points and just three games to play. Worcester's Engineers hold the tiebreaker by virtue of a 2-1 victory back in mid-September. Smith falls to 7-5-4 overall and 1-4-2 in NEWMAC action.
McCrea did all of her damage in the first half. Just seven minutes in she sent a pass between a defender's leg to the foot of Sophie Gomarlo (Swanzey, NH), who blasted a shot from just inside the box into the top left corner for her third goal of the season. McCrea nearly scored in the 27th minute but her rocket from the top of the 18th was knocked off the bar by Smith goalkeeper Camryn Biasin (Lee, MA). The freshmen found the back of net just four minutes later after she dribbled into the box, dribbled through a defender's legs and deposited the ball into the bottom right corner for her fourth marker of her freshman campaign.
Smith dented the scoring column late in regulation. Sophia Mallari (Waterford, CT) knocked a long free kick from 40 yards out into the box and it was headed into middle of the net by Emily Smith (Winchester, MA) for her ninth goal of season with just 3:52 left. WPI nearly answered but Gomarlo hit the crossbar 1:01 later for the second time in the contest. Earlier Karina Larson (Storrs, CT) found the iron unkind when she hit the crossbar midway through the second half.
The matchup featured the conference's top defensive team (WPI - 5 goals allowed) and the league's most prolific offensive squad (Smith - 46 goals scored). The Engineer backline of starters Lynn Renner (Aberdeen, SD), Megan Hanshaw (Simsbury, CT), Kara Martin (North Hampton, NH) and Larson held Smith to just four shots.
As a team WPI outshot Smith 19-4 and attempted all seven of the game's corner kicks. Gabi Hoops (Stonington, CT) picked up the win in net for the Crimson and Gray making one save and not allowing a goal through the first 74:14. Mandy St. Germain (Upton, MA) worked the final 15:46 for the hosts. Biasin was strong for the Pioneers, registering nine stops in the complete game effort. Jackie Foody (Weston, MA) and Emma Gubbins (Dennis, MA) joined Emily Smith with shots for the visitors.
Both teams return to action with NEWMAC contests on Saturday. WPI heads to Springfield for a 1pm matchup with the Pride while Smith welcomes Wellesley to Northampton for a 3pm kickoff.
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