Sept. 19, 2009
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA - After briefly losing her starting position this week, junior forward Cristal Peixoto (Dartmouth, MA/Dartmouth HS) had something to prove in Saturday afternoon's Little East Conference opener against visiting Rhode Island College. Two goals later, her proof was on the scoreboard: Home 2, Visitor 0.
On Saturday, "Peixoto" was synonymous with "Home." The Dartmouth native provided all of the day's scoring, beginning just 2:21 into the contest. Peixoto took a feed from sophomore defender Kerri Dawson (New Bedford, MA/New Bedford HS) and dribbled past Rhode Island's defenders and into the box, placing an easy kick into the far side of the net. The Corsairs, who have struggled with opponents' quick answers to goals all season, kept the pressure on in subsequent minutes with Peixoto and her fellow forwards keeping on the attack. UMass Dartmouth carried its 1-0 advantage into halftime.
UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Carla DeSantis was pleased to see her points of emphasis take root in her team's play. "What we're really working to improve is our overall composure, to set the tone early and maintain that kind of effort throughout," DeSantis said.
Peixoto duplicated her instant production in the second half, scoring off a cross into the box from freshman midfielder Shannon Rhinehart (Randolph, MA/Randolph HS) just 5:01 after play resumed. The goal gave the Corsairs what proved to be an insurmountable lead in an important conference contest. "Cristal had been coming off the bench in the last couple of games," DeSantis said. "She did what was necessary to get back into a starting position. She's been working hard to get on the positive end of crosses, to get into the right place at the right time, and to get the right type of shots."
The Corsairs outshot the Anchorwomen 16-7, including a game-high six shots by sophomore forward Katie Doherty (Tewksbury, MA/Tewksbury HS). Eleven of the 16 Corsair shots were on goal, compared with just four of seven for Rhode Island. The four saves yielded freshman goalkeeper Tanya Braga (Hudson, MA/Hudson HS) her first solo shutout of the season.
After widening the lead to 2-0 early in the second half, a team wide effort by the Corsairs kept Rhode Island from threatening. Freshmen Rhinehart and Jamie Ledin (Bridgewater, MA/West Bridgewater HS) turned in strong performances in the second half which allowed the Corsairs to control the game's pace the rest of the way. "Both of them are coming in and doing a good job for us," DeSantis said. "I've been telling the freshmen all year: `Don't count your minutes, make your minutes count.' They made their minutes count today."
UMass Dartmouth improved to 4-3 and 1-0 in the Little East Conference with the win, while Rhode Island College dropped to 1-3 and 0-1 with the defeat. The Corsairs will return to action when they visit Connecticut College next Tuesday. The Anchorwomen will visit Bridgewater State Tuesday.