RIC Women’s Soccer Still Holden On

By Brian Buonaiuto

 

When the Rhode Island College women’s soccer team went into Plymouth State, history was not on their side. The Anchorwomen had never won a postseason game and had a lifetime record of 0-9-1 against the Panthers. History was no match for the Anchorwomen on this night. Thanks to two goals from junior back Malissa Holden, RIC was able to upset the PSC, 2-1, in the first round of the Little East Tournament.

The first half was mostly uneventful, with no scoring but Plymouth State carrying most of the play. RIC struck first when Holden rocketed a free kick from 25 yards out over the goalkeeper’s head to give the Anchorwomen a 1-0 lead in the 56th minute.

"Malissa had scored a goal against the same team on a free kick last time we played them," said head coach Ryan Angel. "We knew we could beat the keeper, we just needed to get a chance."

In what has become a problem for RIC this season, it didn’t take long for the Panthers to tie the game up. Six minutes later, Plymouth State responded with a goal to tie the game. "We have a relatively young team and we have had a tendency to give away leads," said Coach Angel.

As play progressed, the Anchorwomen were getting closer to breaking through, and with five minutes left, had a golden opportunity. Junior midfielder Kim Wood headed the ball past the keeper on a cross and started her way towards the ball to kick it in, at that moment a Panther defender dragged her down, setting up RIC for a penalty kick. Coach Angel decided to call on Holden to break the tie.

"Malissa was first on my list if we ever got in a situation like that and she had the confidence from scoring the other goal," said Coach Angel. Holden lined up for the kick and sailed it over the net. "I just missed the kick," said Holden. "It gave me nightmares last night just thinking about it."

Holden would have her chance at redemption. After one overtime period went by without a goal and just 1:40 left in the second overtime period, Holden lined up for another free kick. "I heard the girls who formed the wall say just let it hit you," said Holden. "So I kicked it right off one of the girl’s faces and it ricocheted into the corner of the net."

Pandemonium followed as the Anchorwomen piled on top of each other. "We were dancing and jumping around," says Holden. "The whole Plymouth State men’s team was taunting us the whole game, it was nice to shut them up."

Being the first RIC women’s soccer squad to win a postseason game wasn’t lost on Angel. "I told the team when we got back, that this was an accomplishment that nobody could ever take away from them, and being a first-year head coach that is something I am proud of," he said.

"It was so nice to come to school today and have everybody recognize us and congratulate us," said Holden. "Everyone was wishing us luck for our next game."

RIC will have to drum up similar magic when it faces Keene State, who the Anchorwomen have never defeated. With one notable victory already, RIC hopes to continue surprising people. "I told the team to enjoy this victory, but we have a big game against Keene State left," says Coach Angel. "They just need to keep pushing."


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