The 2021 NCAA Women's Soccer season opened with an all Ocean State battle between the upstarts from the AAC in University of Rhode Island and the high rated Big East power Providence College.
The Friars have had the better of the Rams throughout the past years including a 2-0 victory in the abrupt pandemic played "2020" season. The first half began with a well played pressure on the backline of the Rams by the Friars offense, led by Hannah McNulty and Big East Preseason All-Conference player Meg Hughes, who found the back of the net from a byline-to-byline weaving run for a 27th minute goal. While this score-line held through to the halftime break, the Rams began to increase the pressure on the Friars in the last 10 minutes of the half through a number of strong balls by Rebecca D'Anna and Alyssa Flemming. Despite the cracks on net, they were unable to solve the strong play of Friars GK Emma Bodmer. Coach Meghan Jessee however took into halftime the thought that tonight's match was the "first adversity they had really faced so far this season" and that they had the ability to "overcome the adversity as part of their test to start the campaign". The Rams responded in kind with a "great first five minutes of the 2nd half".
Brooke Cavino notched a goal in 47th minute and the Rams were able to hold serve against the challenges of the 2nd half to stymie the cross-state rivals Providence College. Cavino said during the postgame media availability that she's "practiced half-volley opportunities during their training sessions, knowing its one of my favorite ways to get a good finish". That opportunity appeared on the cross deflection from D'Anna right to the foot of the forward who placed it upper 90 to level the match. Through the two overtime periods the control of the game seemed slanted in favor of the Rams, including two Grade A opportunities that landed on the foot of Tali O'Leary, who almost twice won the match if not for strong stops from Bodmer keeping the Friars in the hunt. As the whistle blew from the referee signifying the end after 110 minutes of action, the Rams came away with a major point pickup and a great start to the season. The turnaround will be quick for the players and coaching staff as they will be back in action on Sunday afternoon as the Maine Black Bears come to the URI Soccer Complex for a 1 pm tap time. #rhodeisland #providence #rams #friars #ncaa #womenssoccer #aac #bigeast #brookecavino