Nov. 7, 2010

ALBANY - The College of Saint Rose further elevated its legacy in Northeast-10 Conference annals by scoring three second half goals to upend visiting Franklin Pierce 3-0 in the league championship match today at Sullivan Field at the Christian Plumeri Sports Complex.

The Golden Knights, ranked #1 in the latest NSCAA/HendrickCars.com NCAA Division II Poll for the eighth straight week, scored three times within a 22-minute span and outshot the Ravens by an 8-2 margin throughout the decisive second period after a fairly evenly played first half. Saint Rose also generated eight corner kicks, and surrendered only one in each half to Franklin Pierce.

The triumph marks the fourth consecutive league title for the Golden Knights (21-0-0), who along with the Ravens and Merrimack are the lone three schools to win more than two consecutive conference postseason championships. Franklin Pierce (14-5-1) won seven straight prior to the current Saint Rose run, while Merrimack won at least a share of the title from 1986-90.

The Golden Knights earned their latest banner this afternoon thanks in part to junior forward Gianna D'Errico, and junior midfielders Kimberly Morton and Christina Cuffari who accounted for the three Saint Rose strikes, two of which were set up by senior midfielder Coco Ebersole. Meanwhile, senior keeper Deanna Esposito came up with three saves and roamed her area with authority to keep Franklin Pierce, which was averaging 2.3 goals entering today, off the scoreboard.

In the process, Esposito was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after extending her current shutout streak to 753 minutes covering 10 games. The lone score she allowed prior to that was an "own goal" versus Bentley back on October 8.

The momentum swung both ways during the first half with Saint Rose controlling play throughout the early and latter portions, while the Ravens engineered some pressure during the middle part. Regardless, the match stood scoreless at the break.

D'Errico then broke through for Saint Rose with 58:11 elapsed when she deflected an Ebersole strike into the upper corner that eventually stood up as the game-winner. Ebersole and freshman forward Carmelina Puopolo then worked a pair of quick touches beyond the 18-yard area that sprung Morton who finished inside the box with a drive to the left side at the 76:31 mark. Less than four minutes later, Cuffari removed all doubt about the eventual outcome when she whistled a shot into the top left corner from 20-yards out.

The Golden Knights easily could have had a two goal lead at intermission. Junior forward Nicola D'Errico got off a shot from the right flank that skimmed off the crossbar with a mere 3:39 gone. Morton then got in the air and struck a nifty header that had goal written all over it, before Franklin Pierce junior keeper Jocelyn Leon somehow catapulted herself to the left to come up the save, one of three she made throughout the contest.