With one unfortunate bounce of a ball, the lady Spartan soccer season ended as the team was defeated 1-0 in the North Atlantic Conference semi-final game by the University of Maine Farmington on Saturday, Nov. 1, in Castleton. The game was a tough battle with both teams’ defenses dashing any hopes of scoring during regulation.
The Spartans again had a shot at victory with 1:48 left in overtime as a Spartan pass squeaked by the Beaver defense and forward Maria Arnot tracked it down. Just before Arnot reached the ball, though, Beaver keeper McknellBarnes left the net and made a feet-first slide at the ball. Arnot, determined to knock the ball away, collided with Barnes. Barnes’ grip on the ball was too tight and Arnot tumbled over the keeper.
The Beavers made a final attempt at victory as the remaining minute slowly ticked away, but the Spartans turned them away.
As the Spartans brought the ball to the midfield with less than a minute to play, though, Beaver forward Amber Murphy forced a turnover. She carried the ball for a moment and then sent a seemingly harmless pass to the center of the goal box. Spartan keeper Nakita Baldic lined the ball up for the save, but at the last minute the ball took an awkward bounce and rose up and over Baldic’s head. As she fell backwards she tried to swat the ball away, but it was too late.
The ball came to rest in the right corner of the goal. Fans and players stood silent and motionless in disbelief of the anticlimactic ending to a hard fought game.
“Sometimes when you play games like this it doesn’t work out in your favor, and that game we just didn’t have things go our way,” said Carisa Chadburn, a captain.
The loss for the Spartans leaves them with an overall record of 11-8 and a NAC record of 6-1. Now comes the long wait and the anticipation of next season.
“I am expecting big things out of our team next year,” said Chadburn. “We understand what it feels like to lose such a heartbreaking game, and I know that we do not want it to happen again.