PROVIDENCE, R.I. – With less than one minute remaining in regulation and overtime looming with a 1-1 ball game, Paola Ortez used a free kick from 25-yards out to score the winning goal, lifting the Suffolk women's soccer team to a 2-1 season opening victory over Rhode Island College at RIC Soccer Stadium Sunday afternoon.
SCORE: Suffolk 2, Rhode Island 1
RECORDS: Suffolk (1-0) | Rhode Island (0-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
A back and forth frame took up the majority of the first 45 minutes. Alexandra Nagri had other things in mind, however, as the senior captain broke open the scoring in the 31st minute to put Suffolk on the scoreboard. Kirsten Weiker and the Rams' back line kept the Anchormen in check for the remaining 15 minutes in the first frame to send the blue-and-gold into intermission leading by one.
Out of the break, RIC made things interesting as Stephanie Ricci converted on a penalty kick 3:50 into the second half to lock things at 1-all.
There was plenty of time to make a move and Suffolk needed nearly all of it as the game-winner was not put away until the final minute. Ortez sent a good free kick from 25 yards out into the netting with 89:07 on the clock to lift the Rams to victory.
- Nagri picked up the rock on a feed from Erika Nelson on the right side of the field and fired, finding the back of the net at the 30th minute mark to give Suffolk an early 1-0 lead with her first goal of the season.
- After Suffolk was whistled for a handball in the box, RIC's Ricci placed her second of the year in net on a good penalty kick at the 48th minute to even the score at 1-1.
- On a Rams' offensive rush, the Anchormen were wished for a foul and set up Ortez's game winning free kick blast, which came 25 yards out.
KEEPING UP WITH THE KEEPERS
- Weiker made eight saves in the triumph to move to 1-0 on the season.
- Carissa Gaglione registered six saves in the setback.
- RIC outshot Suffolk by a 17-13 margin.
- The Rams held the advantage in corners, 7-3.
- For the first time since 2014, Suffolk marked a tally in the win column in the first outing of the season.
- Suffolk improved to 4-6-1 in season debuts.
- The Rams earned their first season opening victory under the guidance of three-year head coach Darren Lloyd.
- Ortez's game winner is the first of her career.
Suffolk lifts the lid on its home and GNAC slate Saturday, Sept. 9 when Albertus Magnus visits James A. Sartori Stadium at East Boston Memorial Park for a 1 p.m. showdown.