Nov. 22, 2009

Courtesy of Saint Rose Athletics

ALBANY - The College of Saint Rose punched a ticket to its second consecutive Championship Finals appearance with a 1-0 victory this afternoon against California (PA) in a national quarterfinal game on the campus of Siena College. The Golden Knights (24-0-0), ranked #2 in the final NSCAA/Adidas Division II Poll, did so in convincing fashion by generating a 12-2 shot advantage and a 9-1 differential in corner kicks.

Saint Rose will now meet Colorado Mines or Grand Valley State in a national semifinal game on Thursday, December 3 in Tampa. The national championship match is scheduled for Saturday, December 5.

The Golden Knights controlled play for the vast majority of the contest and set the tone early on by generating four shots during the opening 10 minutes that blossomed into an 8-1 shot advantage at halftime. Sophomore forwards Nicola D'Errico and Gianna D'Errico both got off dangerous threats following a pair of California, PA defensive breakdowns.

Saint Rose finally broke through when sophomore midfielder Kimberly Morton flicked a ball onto the foot of freshman forward Carly Pengelly who had space after California, PA sophomore keeper Paula Jackson came off her line to play Morton's pass. Pengelly was thus left alone and she took full advantage by driving home a shot from eight-yards into the left side of an empty net.

"We played with a lot of heart, a lot of intensity and a lot of passion," said Saint Rose head coach Laurie Darling Gutheil. "Our freshmen have stepped up all year. What is so special about this team is that we have so many players who can step up at anytime and contribute. Today we showed that yet again."

The second half pretty much mirrored the opening 45 minutes with Saint Rose dictating the pace, although the 23rd ranked Vulcans made a more concerted effort to go forward.

It proved to be moot however as the Golden Knights produced the only clear scoring chances. Sophomore forward Derith Fernandes had a header go wide off a feed from senior midfielder Deanna Wachtel and senior midfielder Courtenay Gannon lofted a corner from the left flag that Jackson bobbled, before gathering in at the last moment.

Saint Rose senior keeper Shannon Murphy did not have to make a save although she seamlessly handled whatever threats the Vulcans put into the area. At the other end, Jackson came up with five stops for California, PA.