DURHAM, N.H. – Senior tri-captain Cassie Guerra (DeWitt, N.Y.) scored in the 78th minute to tie the game, as the University of New Hampshire women's soccer team battled back to salvage a 1-1 draw in double-overtime with the University of Rhode Island at Lewis Fields in the team's season opener Tuesday afternoon.
The Wildcats open the season 0-0-1 and remain undefeated in three straight season openers,
while the Rams also get off to a 0-0-1 start. The 'Cats, who are now 15-8-1 all-time versus Rhode Island, are 5-1-1 in their last seven season openers. UNH is 4-4-4 in its last 12 home openers, which have included seven one-goal games, four ties and six double-overtime tilts.
Trailing 1-0 with just under 13 minutes to play in regulation, the Wildcats pulled even when Guerra, the America East Player of the Game, buried her third career goal. Sophomore Monique Lamotte (Tampa, Fla.) pushed the ball down the middle of the field before dropping it off to Alyssa Michel (Bellingham, Wash.) on the left flank. Michel then delivered a perfect pass to the middle of the box for Guerra, who blasted a shot to the right corner of the net, sneaking it just under crossbar.
UNH looked like it might have had the game won late in the 94th minute when sophomore Chelsea Kuss (Warners, N.Y.) received a service from classmate Kelly Spencer (Exeter, N.H.) and headed the ball to the left side of the open net, but URI goalkeeper Sasha Reiber recovered to make the save.
Freshman goalkeeper Erica Correa (Cheshire, Conn.) made three saves in her first collegiate match, while Reiber stopped seven shots for the Rams.
Rhode Island went ahead in the 64th minute after Alexis Veith sent a long ball down the flank where Nikkita Persaud gathered it and sent a low shot into the right corner of the net past Correa.
Just 10 minutes later, Correa made a spectacular save to keep it a one-goal game. URI's top returning scorer Kaylen Shimoda was on the doorstep where she rifled a shot to the right side of the net, but Correa leapt to her left to punch the ball away.
URI nearly grabbed its first lead earlier in the second half in the 50th minute when Shimoda's shot from the left flank to the far post appeared to be headed for the back of the net before junior Jordyn Krall (Duxbury, Mass.) cleared the ball away.
Just over a minute later, the Wildcats almost drew first blood when a blast from the right side of the box by senior Amy Avitabile (Pembroke, Mass.) sailed over the head of Reiber, but ricocheted off the crossbar. UNH's best chance came in the 60th minute when a corner kick from junior Alli Rozelle (Stratham, N.H.) landed by the far post where senior Ashley Avitabile (Pembroke, Mass.) slid to try and kick the ball into the vacant right side of the net, but her attempt went just wide to the right.
The Wildcats return to action at the TD Bank Classic at the University of Vermont this weekend. They take on La Salle on Friday, Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. and Rider on Sunday, Aug. 29 at 11 a.m. The 'Cats play host to Harvard in their next home game Sept. 5 at 1 p.m.