The University of Maine women’s soccer team’s record-setting season came to an end on Thursday night.
Freshman midfielder Abbi Maier’s goal with just 4:35 left in regulation gave the second-seeded University of New Hampshire Wildcats a 2-1 victory over the third-seeded Black Bears in their America East semifinal at Wildcat Stadium in Durham, New Hampshire.
Maier, who was chosen to the America East All-Rookie team, had opened the scoring for UNH at the 20:39 mark but UMaine Norwegian freshman Julie Lossius scored her second goal of the season and second in as many games 17:10 later to tie it.
Maier’s game-winner was set up by All-AE second teamers Meghan Guarente and Emily Bini.
Bini took a throw-in and got it to Guarente, who crossed it into the penalty area where Maier, who was parked in the middle of the area, headed it home from 12 yards out for her fourth goal of the season.
“It was a great goal,” said UMaine coach Scott Atherley. “[UMaine left back] Emma Schneider went up to head the cross. She didn’t misplay it. But it got just over her head and [Maier] was in the right spot.”
He said that with exception of corner kicks, UNH hadn’t really threatened them or had any extensive time in the UMaine penalty area in the second half.
UNH finished with a 6-2 edge in corner kicks.
UNH, now 9-5-2, will advance to the championship game where it will travel to face top seed Binghamton, which beat No. 5 Albany in penalty kicks after the teams were tied 2-2 after regulation and 3-3 after overtime.
UMaine, which became the first team in program history to go undefeated in league play at 4-0-4, wound up 9-3-5 overall after having its eight-game unbeaten streak snapped (5-0-3).
Lossius, who scored the critical third goal in Sunday’s quarterfinal win over the New Jersey Institute of Technology 19 seconds after NJIT had scored to cut the lead to 2-1, worked a give-and-go with Gorham freshman Madison Michaud before taking a couple touches and beating UNH goalie Cat Sheppard from just inside the penalty area.
It was Michaud’s third assist of the season.
Maier had staked UNH to a 1-0 lead when she converted a perfect cross from Guarente.
Bini also assisted on the goal.
Atherley said his team played well and it was a “great game” with very little to choose between the two teams.
There were momentum swings each way and each team had spurts where they carried the play.
“It was an even game with three great goals and they had two of them,” he said.
UMaine had an 11-9 edge in shot attempts but UNH put six shots on goal compared with UMaine’s three.
Sheppard finished with two saves and Kira Kutzinski had four for UMaine.
Atherley said he was “extremely proud” of his team.
“We were picked to finish eighth [in the coaches’ preseason poll]. We wound up with nine wins and the three losses are the fewest we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Atherley, who just concluded his 23rd season as the head coach.