PROVIDENCE, RI – Junior Mika Siegelman (Piedmont, CA) broke a 0-0 tie in the 53rd minute to help lift the Brown women's soccer team (2-0-0) to a 1-0 win over New Hampshire (1-3-0) in the Bears' home opener Sunday afternoon at Stevenson Field. Junior goalies Amber Bledsoe (Cincinnati, OH) and MC Barrett (Ithaca, NY) combined to stop four shots, as Brown earned its second straight shutout.
The two teams played through a scoreless first period and saw plenty of chances for both sides with Brown holding a slim, 8-7, advantage in shots. However, the Bears were more accurate, forcing UNH goalie Erica Correa to make four saves, while Bledsoe needed to make just one save in the opening frame.
Just 10 minutes into the game, the Wildcats had a great opportunity to score the first goal when Monique LaMotte raced in from the right side for a one-on-one with Bledsoe. Bledsoe came across the goalmouth to cover the near post and LaMotte shot for the far corner, but the ball went just wide of the net, keeping the game scoreless.
Less than five minutes later, the Bears had back-to-back chances miss just over the net. The first was a shot from about 25 yards out by junior Louisa Pitney (Washington, DC), who had Correa beat high. Less than two minutes later, sophomore Chloe Cross (Seattle, WA) took a feed from Siegelman and one-timed it from just inside the box. However, that too sailed just over the net.
With time winding down in the first half, UNH had perhaps the best chance of the opening 45 minutes. After a Brown defender attempted to head the ball out of the box, it fell right to the foot of Meghan Ledwith, who dribbled in for another one-on-one with Bledsoe. However, her shot from the top of the box, which appeared to be headed for the upper right corner, ricocheted off the crossbar, as the teams headed into the break tied at 0-0.
Brown made some adjustments at halftime and came out with more intensity and needed just 7:02 to get on the board on a goal by Siegelman. Sophomore Kirsten Belinsky (Los Altos, CA) started the play when she dribbled up the left side and sent the ball to junior Kiersten Berg (Salt Lake City, UT) in the middle. Siegelman collected the ball from Berg and fired for the near corner, scoring her first of the year when the ball took a deflection inside the box and eluded Correa.
The Bears looked to increase their lead with a dangerous sequence in the 63rd minute of play, where Brown had four shots and two corner kicks in a stretch of two minutes. However, the UNH defense was able to weather the storm, twice making saves on the goal line with Correa caught out of position. Cross nearly put the hosts up 2-0 at 62:51, but her header was blocked by a defender on the goal line. Less than two minutes later, senior Eliza Marshall (North Andover, MA) had her shot off a Pitney corner kick blocked on the goal line by Gabrielle Sloan.
With under 20 minutes left in the game and Brown still holding onto the 1-0 lead, the Wildcats had another opportunity, by Ledwith narrowly miss, as her shot from the right side was wide right and UNH could get no closer, as the Bears picked up their second straight win.
For the game, Brown finished with a 20-14 advantage in shots, including an 11-4 margin in shots on goal. The Bears also had eight corner kicks compared to three for UNH. Barrett replaced Bledsoe in goal at the start of the second half and earned the win with three saves over the final 45 minutes. Cross had a game-high five shots, four of which were on goal, while Siegelman recorded four shots.
Brown's defensive unit of sophomore Annie Gillen (San Clemente, CA), junior Alison Mullin (Denver, CO), senior Diana Ohrt (Simi Valley, CA), and junior Emily Wingrove (Westwood, MA) was also key in helping Brown post the shutout.
The Bears continue action on Thursday, September 6, when they travel across the city of Providence to face the Friars in a 4:00 p.m. contest.
Pictured: Mika Siegelman '14 celebrates her goal against UNH. Photo by DSPics.net.