AMHERST — Dominica Essi’s second goal of the season became Amherst’s biggest Monday afternoon.
Essi scored in the 66th minute, lifting the Comets into a 3-3 tie with previously unbeaten and untied Magnificat, the state’s top-ranked Division I team.
With a memorable rally, Amherst fought back from a two-goal deficit in a tense non-conference match that kept a good crowd animated and vocal to the end. Amherst improved to 6-1-2. Mags went back to Rocky River 6-0-1.
With Amherst trailing 3-2, Essi took control of a pass from Julie Lacock in front of the Mags net and kicked it past keeper Eva Dils.
“Julie played an amazing ball to me and I was in the right place at the right time,” Essi said. “I got a foot on it and it got in the net. It definitely gave us some confidence. We were kind of flat there for a while, but we stepped it up after that. We all played very hard and I’m proud of us today.”
The Comets hung on thanks in part to a superb effort by senior goalkeeper Ashley Fegruson, who made several big stops in the second half, notably when Mags applied unrelenting pressure as time ran down.
“I wasn’t worried,” she said of the Blue Streaks’ late rush. “I just came out ready to do whatever I had to do. My defense was my rock back there. They help me all the time and they saved me today.”
Jim Fossie, Amherst’s first-year coach, said he was pleased with the way his Comets fought back against the state’s No. 1 team.
“Magnificat’s a great team,” he said. “They know how to work the ball and play good soccer. They have a lot of talent. But we told the kids, ‘We’ve got some talent too. Let’s just get to each ball, make them work hard and see if anything positive comes from it.’
“We got lucky a little bit and our girls were in the right place at the right time. We’re really excited we could compete with them.”
The Comets took a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute on a goal by Lindsay Sands off Celine Burgos’ free kick. Mags rebounded for a 1-1 tie at the half after Katherine Viancourt scored in the 40th minute with an assist by Natalie Coury.
The Blue Streaks began to take control early in the second half. They made it a 2-1 game when Jaycie Brown scored with an assist by Viancourt in the 46th minute. And the Comets took another hit when the Blue Streaks’ Paige Rombach kicked in a rebound in the 58th minute.
But barely two minutes later, Burgos scored after a corner kick by Jessica Sobotka. That set the table for Essi’s heroics.
Mags coach John Fenix said Sands’ early goal set the tone.
“I thought we put ourselves in a little bit of a hole early by giving up that goal,” he said. “I think if that goal had not been scored, it probably would have been a slightly different match. But all credit to Amherst. They’re a very gritty, tough and determined team. It was a very hard-fought and evenly fought contest.”
Amherst 3, Magnificat 3
- GOALS: (M) Katherine Viancourt (40th minute), Jaycie Brown (46th minute), Paige Rombach (58th minute); (A) Lindsay Sands (15th minute), Celine Burgos (60th minute), Dominica Essi (66th minute).
- ASSISTS: (M) Natalie Coury, Viancourt; (A) Burgos, Jessica Sobotyka, Julie Lacock.
- SHOTS: Magnificat 16; Amherst 9.
- SHOTS ON FRAME: Magnificat 9, Amherst 4..
- SAVES: (M) Eva Dils 2; (A) Ashley Ferguson 6.
- GOAL KICKS: Magnificat 4, Amherst 6.
- CORNER KICKS: Magnificast 9, Amherst 6.
- OFFSIDE: Magnificat 2, Amherst 1.
- HANDBALLS: Amherst 1.
- FOULS: Magnificat 9, Amherst 9.
- CARDS: None.
- HALF: 1-1.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.