Emory tops Massachusetts-Boston on Romero's winning goal in overtime
BOSTON -- Emory senior Veronica Romero chipped a ball over Massachusetts-Boston goalkeeper Kristin Spain's head with just 87 seconds left in the second overtime period to give the second-ranked Eagles a hard-fought 2-1 road victory against the Beacons on Monday afternoon.
Romero's goal capped off a late comeback for the Eagles, who trailed the Beacons 1-0 with just 10 minutes left in regulation, despite holding a large advantage in shots taken during the game. However, Emory's flurry of offense late lifted the squad to its second consecutive road victory to start the year, and ended the hopes of an upset-minded UMass-Boston squad.
With Romero driving past the defense to set up a one-on-one opportunity, Spain came out of the goal to meet the Eagles' forward, and with the net open, Romero responded by lofting a shot past the keeper and easily into the net. It was the first goal of the season for Romero, capping off her three-point day, after she assisted on the Eagles' earlier goal as well.
The golden goal was the first of Romero's career. It marked the second consecutive season that the Eagles have won their second game of the season via a golden goal on the road.
UMass-Boston jumped out to the first-half lead in the game when Tayla Andrews scored her second goal of the season on a long shot that deflected off an Eagles' defender and past goalkeeper Gabrielle Pelura.
Emory evened the game late in regulation on strong play between Romero and freshman Cristina Ramirez. Ramirez set up a corner kick for the Eagles after her initial shot in the sequence ticked off the fingers of the Beacons' keeper and went past the end line. Romero's resulting short corner was cleared out of the six yard box, but Romero intercepted the ball, and sent a perfect cross to the far post, where Ramirez was able head the ball in for the equalizer in the 80th minute. It was the first career goal for the freshman, and the first assist of the year for Romero.
Both teams had opportunities to win the game during the final 30 seconds of regulation. After an Emory foul, UMass-Boston's Amanda Pugliese launched a free kick from approximately 35 yards out that went off the crossbar. Moments later, the Eagles launched a breakaway down the field that ended with a one-on-one between Emory junior Meredith Doherty and Spain with five seconds left, but the keeper was able to deflect the shot wide to send the game into overtime.
The two goals scored by Emory were the results of pressure applied throughout the game by the Eagles, who managed 28 shots, including 15 on goal. Spain was able to convert 13 saves during the match, but ultimately suffered her first loss of the season.
Meanwhile, Emory's goalkeeping tandem of Pelura and sophomore Liz Arnold managed to combine for their second consecutive victory. Pelura allowed one goal, but turned away three shots during the first half of action. Arnold played more than 63 shutout minutes in goal, spanning the second half and both overtimes, making three saves and earning her first collegiate victory.
The Eagles now stand at 2-0-0, marking the second consecutive season (and third time in the past four years) that the squad has opened the year with back-to-back wins. UMass-Boston dropped to 1-1-0 with the loss.