The sky was sunny and clear as the ball rolled into play between the Beacons and Western Connecticut State University. From the grass lawn behind the goal, parents and friends cheered the women’s soccer team. It was Oct. 22, and the hand-drawn posters to the right of the net reminded everyone that this game would be the last of the season in Beacon territory for the eight graduating players.
Undergraduate Seniors Gina Albano, Maria Spylios, Kelly McNeil, Ailaina Keely, Gina Albano, Kaylee Haynes and Saige Sorey, alongside graduate students Dani Anderson and Lindsay Bouscaren, played with aptitude and focus as they celebrated their last game.
First, Goalkeeper, number zero, Maria Spylios made a mark and showed composure as she sharply saved all 10 shots on goal from Western Connecticut’s offense: Three in the first five minutes of the game.
Then, at the 15-minute mark, a foul from the Wolves gave UMass Boston a free kick shot by Dani Anderson. Kaylee Haynes masterfully intercepted this midfield shot, as she gained control and scored the first goal of the game. Her teammates cheerfully gathered and jumped to celebrate the senior.
Right after, when the ball went back into play, the Beacons ran along the right sideline and shot to the middle of the net. The Wolves' goalkeeper blocked the shot with a diving save and rolled the ball back into the feet of the Beacons.
UMass Boston’s freshman, number two, Callia Eaton, did not let the opportunity slide. She intercepted the ball as it was still close to the net, energetically kicking the ball and striking Western Connecticut’s defense while they were still distracted, cleverly scoring the second goal of the game. This was her third goal of the season.
Kaylee Haynes made the most out of her senior day later in the first half. Following another pass from the right lane, she followed the flow of the ball and directed it towards the middle of the field. There wasn’t a trace of a stumble as she powerfully shot it right to the middle of the net. In that way, finalizing the lead 3–0, and solidifying UMass Boston as the winners of the game.
Hayes jumped in excitement and celebrated this goal as she ran to meet her teammates on the sideline. High-fiving them all, ending it all off with a broad smile and double high five to Spylios, the warrior at the Beacon net, who ensured that in the second half her teammates’ efforts didn’t go to waste.
As the sun shone on through the second half, the Women's soccer team kept the ball at play, and at 3:15 p.m., the Beacons claimed victory in their last game at home.
It is important to note that seniors who may have not taken center stage during the game against Western Connecticut State were still essential for the 2022 season. Most of them are defenders who focused on blocking attacks from the different teams they encountered this fall and were nonetheless equally as important and valuable to the team.
Before the game, graduating players ran between their fellow players, high-fiving them on the way and receiving flowers. At the end, they hugged their coach and celebrated their independent sporting journeys at Columbia Point. Best wishes to them as the off-season approaches and they continue their athletic careers beyond UMass Boston.