Salem State senior captain Taylor Orlando took a free kick from co-captain KatyLyn Verrette, and sent a header into the far the side of the net to beat USM 1-0 at the USM Soccer Field on Tuesday.
The loss brings the Huskies to 2-6 overall and the Vikings improve their record to 3-3-1.
The goal came with 6:55 left in the first half and put a stop to a bit of momentum that the Huskies had been using to their advantage. A foul deep in the USM end gave the Vikings a free kick from about 25 yards out. The swinging header managed to make it through to the far side of the formation and was redirected to the back of the net by Orlando through a crowd of Huskies.
Junior goalkeeper Kat Rothe (Leeds) made several key saves for USM when she got the chance. A scoring attempt from the Huskies left them shorthanded on the defensive end as the counter attack got started. Rothe was forced to come off her line to pressure the Viking striker, and Verrette ripped a shot from the right of the square but Rothe had just enough time to deflect the attempt wide of the net.
Salem State controlled the ball and won the possession battle from the get-go, forcing the Huskies to prove themselves on the defensive end time and time again. The defense came up big many times turning the Vikings outside as well as stepping up to stop several of their through balls.
After the break the Huskies came out with a burst of energy and had the ball pinned down on the Vikings side from the start. Once Salem State regained their composure and pieced together an attacking run, the Huskies found themselves in need of another timely defensive stop. Just as it looked like USM might be going down by two goals junior midfielder Tara Moore (Portland) rushed in to redirect the Viking offer.
Multiple penalties kept the Huskies from being able to clear the ball which shifted the momentum back in the Vikings favor. The defense, once again, responded by drawing an offside penalty on Salem State that snuffed out what would have been a sure break away.
On one of the more promising sequences from the Huskies, senior captain Heidi DeHaan (Lewiston) took a lead pass that was threaded perfectly through the Viking defense and found enough daylight to let a shot go from just outside the 18 yard line. The attempt was put to rest though as Salem State freshman goalkeeper Lauren Garchinsky was able to get in front of the shot to make the save.
“This was a disappointing loss for us, especially for how well we played through the first 25 minutes,” Head Coach Lisa Petruccelli said of her team’s first half effort. “In the end, they just executed better than we did today.”
USM will host Bowdoin College in their next match on Wednesday at the USM Soccer Field in Gorham at 4 p.m.