ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Despite another strong performance from first-year goalkeeper Sabrina Doherty, the Ursinus College women's soccer team was unable to crack the Muhlenberg back line before a late goal gave the home side a 1-0 Centennial Conference triumph on Wednesday.
Doherty, the reigning CC Defensive Player of the Week, racked up a career-high eight saves for the Bears (1-8-2, 1-4-1), but was unable to get her hands on a high lofting shot from 40 yards out by Carly DeNigris that broke up a scoreless stalemate with only 7:39 remaining in the second half. Muhlenberg (4-6-2, 2-2-2) evened its conference mark with the hard-fought victory in the latest installment of a tight series that has seen eight of the last nine meetings decided by a single goal.
The Bears were on the attack from the opening tap, firing off the first three shots of the match and forcing a save by Libby Juliano on a 9th-minute effort by senior Kendall Couch. From there, however, the Mules gradually began to turn the tide. The hosts outshot Ursinus, 8-1, for the rest of the frame and earned five corner kicks, but failed to decode Doherty until the closing minutes.
Four more saves by Doherty preceded one by Juliano in the 64th minute, Ursinus freshman Avery Webster forcing the Mule keeper into action. The deadlock dragged on into the night until DeNigris' long-range goal put the Bears in a late hole, ending their stretch of holding teams scoreless at 282 minutes and change.
Freshman Julia Ewing and senior Danielle Kuller attempted shots in the closing minutes, Ewing's forcing another save from Juliano, and senior Katie Bell started a corner kick with just over a minute remaining that proved fruitless.
Muhlenberg finished with a 15-11 advantage in shots and a 6-5 edge in corners. Juliano collected four saves to increase her CC-leading save percentage and extend the Mules' home unbeaten streak to nine matches.
Junior Mackenzie Groff put up five shots for the Bears, including the first two of the contest.
The Bears continue their conference slate at Dickinson on Saturday.