Women's Soccer Falls to Salem State in Season Opener

Gabrielle McIninch

Worcester, MA --- Kelly Birchmore (Swampscott, MA) and Kaitlyn Quigley (Santa Maria, CA) each netted second half goals to help visiting Salem State rally for a 2-1 non-conference women's soccer victory in the season opener for both squads on Saturday afternoon. 

Abbie McIninch (Lanexa, VA) got WPI on the board early when she headed home a perfectly placed corner kick from Megan Forti (Lynn, MA) into the top left corner of the goal just 6:42 into the match.  It was the sophomore's third career goal and Forti's ninth career helper. 

The hosts enjoyed an 8-4 advantage in shots during the first half, which was played under sunny and very warm conditions.  The second stanza brought cloudy conditions and a cooling breeze to the previously sun-soaked Alumni Field.  

Salem State evened the match at 51:48 when Birchmore, a freshman, buried a feed from Amy Griffith (Middleton, MA) near post to tie the game at 1-1.  Less than seven minutes later, the Vikings took the lead for good when Quigley stole the ball from a defender and beat the WPI goalkeeper at 58:35. 

Both teams had chances to score in the final 30 minutes.  Salem State netminder Rachel Ledbetter (Dracut, MA) turned away a Forti rocket following a nifty give-and-go with Meghan Hemond (Nashua, NH) with just under 10 minutes left while WPI goalkeeper Maddie Willer (Penfield, NY) made a pair of great stops on Sara Previte (Beverly, MA) bids in the 60th and 89th minutes.  Both goalies ended the day with six saves each. 

The Crimson and Gray took 14 of the game's 24 shots and held a slight 3-2 advantage in corner kicks. 

WPI wraps up its season-opening two-game home stand on Tuesday, entertaining Gordon at 7pm.  Salem State is back in action on Sunday, hosting Endicott in its home opener at 3pm.