September 12, 2012

Cumberbatch, Paolini Lead Cougars Past Hawks, 1-0

Bristol, R.I. – Freshman Liz Cumberbatch (Austin, Texas) converted a penalty kick for the match's lone goal and visiting Clark escaped with a 1-0 win over Roger Williams in non-conference women's soccer action on Wednesday evening.

In the 61st minute of a scoreless contest, a Cougar forward was taken down inside the left side of the box, leading to PK opportunity for Clark. Cumberbatch converted the chance, giving her a team-leading four goals – the most for a Clark first-year since 2007.

In the first half, the Hawks controlled the pace and the time of possession for most of the period. Clark was held without a shot over the first 45 minutes of the game, while the Hawks put up ten shots at the net. Overall, Roger Williams outshot Clark 17-5.

The Hawks' best opportunity came at the 16:06 mark, when Hannah Noel (Adams, Mass.) took a shot that just bounced off the left post and right back to her. The rebound shot would be saved by Clark keeper Gabby Paolini (North Potomac, Md.)

Yet in spite of the Hawks' strong play, the Cougar defense stepped up and made key plays throughout the game. A timely clear in the backfield by the Cougars 13 minutes into the game helped stopped a streaking Mariah Kaiser (Portsmouth, R.I.) on a breakaway attempt.  Later in the second half, Elizabeth Gomes (Arlington, Mass.) put a foot on a ball at eye level that warded off of a long pass that was headed for another breakaway opportunity.

The Hawks also had a good chance to tie the game with just under five minutes to play when Katie Lydon (Riverside, R.I.) booted a long shot outside the box head on to the goal. A jumping punch-save by Paolini kept the Hawks off the board preserving the freshman's first career shutout.

Paolini earned the win, making eight saves in the shutout, while Stephanie Jaques (Burlington, Vt.) made one save in the loss.

Roger Williams (1-2-1) opens up Commonwealth Coast Conference play on Saturday with a 12:30 road game at Endicott, while Clark (2-2-1) hosts Springfield Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in the NEWMAC opener.