UMass tops UVM in Manchester Soccer Series opener

MANCHESTER — A goal by University of Massachusetts-Amherst sophomore Sarah Beaulieu with 15 minutes left gave the Minutewomen a 2-1 exhibition victory over the University of Vermont in the second annual Manchester Soccer Series on Thursday night.

"We're right in the middle of preseason, but overall it was pretty good," said UVM women's coach Kristi Lefebvre. "I saw a lot of good things, and the goal of these [exhibitions] is to bring out what you want to work on. We had some things we did well and other things we need to improve on."

UMass took the lead in the first half with a strike from Simi Laaksonen from distance to put the Minutewomen ahead.

"We controlled a lot of the first half, and had an unfortunate goal against the run of play," Lefebvre said.

In the second half, UVM came out with a strong attack and the push paid off as Ella Bankert, who played for Mill River, scored to tie the match at 1-1.

On the goal, the first attempt as a cross was thwarted but not the second as Bankert tapped in with her left foot.

"It was nice to respond down 1-0," Lefebvre said. "We need to finish opportunities, we had a lot of chances and didn't get them in, they had less chances, but made them count. We know what we need to work on."

The game stayed tied at 1-1 until Beaulieu's goal, a beautiful arcing shot that UVM keeper Kacey Lambertson got her hands on but couldn't stop.

Both coaches were impressed in the second season of the Manchester Soccer Series with the field and everything around the event.

"We love the environment down here, they do an amazing job, they even shortened the grass, little things like that make it nice," Lefebvre said. "We had the coaching clinic as well, we're trying to think of ways to add things."

The field is about the same distance to both campuses and both Lefebvre and UMass coach Ed Matz were both positive about continuing to make the trip to Manchester.

"The players love coming down here, it's mid-distance between the two schools and still in Vermont, so that's nice," Lefebvre said. "We're up to continue it with them, it's a great venue, well-run and [Town Manager and organizer] John [O'Keefe] makes it real easy."

The next game in the Soccer Series is Tuesday, August 22 at 7 p.m. when Castleton and Southern Vermont women battle in a pre-season matchup. The final three games are August 26, Sept. 2 and Sept. 6.


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