South Kingstown graduate Belle Pesante extended her soccer career at New Hampshire by at least one more match on Sunday, as she made her biggest contribution to date to the Wildcat cause in the America East quarterfinals.
The former Rebel chalked up her first assist since August 2018 as UNH defeated Binghamton 3-2 to advance to the semifinals for the third time in the past four seasons.
Pesante’s helper came in the 74th minute as she took advantage of an over-eager Bearcat attack and had a free run at the goalkeeper, who deflected her shot in the direction of Julie Cane, who then slotted home for her first collegiate goal.
Cane’s marker made the score 3-1, which gave the hosting Wildcats some breathing space after Ally Reynolds broke a 1-1 halftime deadlock 11 minutes into the second half to give UNH the lead for good.
Binghamton jangled the nerves of the Wildcats in the 85th minute as Erin Theiller’s shot eluded the grasp of Wildcat goalkeeper Cat Sheppard, but the Bearcats were unable to muster an equalizer in the remaining moments and saw their season come to an end.
Instead, New Hampshire will be traveling to Long Island to take on regular season champion Stony Brook on Thursday evening, looking to avenge a 2-0 defeat that was dealt by the Seawolves on Oct. 27.
Pesante will be hoping to add to her 13 appearances off the bench this fall for the 10-7 Wildcats, in which she has logged a total of 275 minutes and taken seven shots, two of which came in her half-hour stint on Sunday.
NK’s Thomas dominating again
North Kingstown alumna Brandee Thomas has been unstoppable on the volleyball court in recent weeks, claiming the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference’s player of the week prize three weeks running to close out the regular season.
During that stretch, the ex-Skipper picked up at least ten kills and 30 total attacks in each of the six matches she has played in, including a 15-kill, 63-attack performance in Framingham State’s win on Oct. 15 over the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
It was one of a quartet of victories in conference play during the run-in for Thomas and the Rams, who also upended Fitchburg State, Salem State and Worcester State to nail down the second seed in this week’s MASCAC tournament.
As a result, Framingham State earned a first-round bye and will be awaiting the outcome of Tuesday’s match between Bridgewater State and Salem State, with either the Bears or Vikings traveling on Thursday to take on the Rams.
Thomas will be entering tournament play as the conference leader in kills and total attacks with 277 and 807, respectively, while her 298 points is good enough for third spot on the ledger.
Former Crusader Zach Pontarelli started all 19 matches this fall for the Rivier men’s soccer team, whose season came to an end last Wednesday with a 2-1 loss to Suffolk...Prout product Ashley Daigneault came off the bench on a dozen occasions for Salve Regina in 2019, recording three shots for the Seahawks...Ex-Rebel Molly Pincince has played in 21 matches to date as a defensive specialist for Central Connecticut’s volleyball team, who upped their mark to 12-12 on the campaign on Saturday with a four-set win over St. Francis-Brooklyn.