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NEWPORTâWith Gardner Parkâs carpet slick from the day's rain showers, the UCA girls hosted the Concord Wildcats on Monday afternoon.
After trailing 1-0 heading into the second half, UCA would tie the contest only to have Concord's Cecelia Chamul score on a break away with twenty seconds left in the game to give the Wildcats the win.
Normally a late goal like that would dampen the spirits of most any team, but UCA is not just any team, they are a group of girls that have worked extremely hard to better themselves as soccer players, and they were pleased with Monday's efforts.
"I have never been more proud," said Co-captain Moriah LaFoe about her team's play. "We did all of the things that we have been working on in practice, it was such a close game, and we could have won it, but we were just getting tired."
Said UCA coach Lyne Limoges, "It was an amazing effort. They worked really well together and we are definitely coming around to be an awesome team here at the end of the season. I just wish we had a few more games to play."
Both teams had chances to score in the early going.
LaFoe had a good run up the field, but her efforts were turned away.
Heading back the other way, Chamul fired a shot that UCA keeper Andreanna Andrews turned away, but Kendra Darrell was there for the rebound and she dumped the ball in the back of the Lady Crusader cage to give the Wildcats the lead just 6:25 into the contest.
Concord kept up the pressure as Nicole Young and Ashley Darrell each had a couple of crack's and Andrews' cage, but the first year keeper was there to make the stops.
UCA's best scoring opportunity came at the mid-point of the first half.
An infraction just outside the 18 gave the Lady Crusaders the direct kick.
Concord was set up in way that would allow a shot right on goal, but Moriah's kick sailed wide, much to her chagrin.
After another nice save by Andrews, LaFoe had one final crack at the Wildcat net, but she couldn't convert and the teams went into the break with Concord ahead 1-0.
Both Concord and UCA came out firing in the second.
Concord got off an early shot that Andrews stopped, and UCA had a couple of corners, and while nothing came of those chances, it did get UCA's offense going.
Whitney Carter, JiWon Han and Rebekah Kadamus started buzzing around the Wildcat cage, creating some good looks.
When the UCA pressure reached it's boiling point the Lady Crusaders struck, as LaFoe unleashed a low shot from right about the 18 that hugged the left post and made it behind Concord's Baylee Olden, tying the game at 1-1.
Said LaFoe on the goal, "I was a little nervous to take the shot, but I am glad it went in."
"Moriah has stepped up (this year), she is a team captain and is an inspiration to all of the other players," Limoges said.
From there it was Concord taking it to the Lady Crusaders, and Andrews had to come up big, which she did time after time.
"She has come along way this season and has done an exceptional job as a first year keeper. I can't wait to see how well she does next year," said Limoges of her keeper.
She turned away tough shots by Darrell and Young to keep things at 1-1, and later got some help from Megan Hosford, who made a great defensive play.
With the clock winding down Concord got one more chance at the UCA net, as Chamul broke through the UCA defenders and went in all alone on Andrew.
Chamul sent a low shot that Andreanna just missed and the Wildcats came away with 2-1 win.
Andrews finished the game with nine saves, while Olden stopped four.
UCA now stands at 1-7 and will host Cabot for senior day this Friday at 3:00.