Saint Rose advances to quarterfinals
Victory against UMass-Lowell brings fourth regional title in row
ALBANY, N.Y. – Saint Rose scored once in each half and controlled the majority of play despite allowing a late goal to chalk up a 2-1 victory against Northeast-10 Conference rival UMass-Lowell in an NCAA tournament third-round match Friday at Sullivan Field at the Plumeri Sports Complex.
The victory marks the fourth consecutive East Regional championship for the Golden Knights.
Tenth-ranked Saint Rose (21-1-1) will now host second-ranked California (Pa.) (20-0-2) in a national quarterfinal game Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET from Sullivan Field. The Vulcans advanced with a 2-0 win against Slippery Rock in today's Atlantic Regional Championship game.
As for Friday, sophomore forward Carmelina Puopolo registered her eighth game-winner of the year and also set up the first tally for freshman forward Brittany Barry. Additonally, senior midfielder Christina Cuffari collected a pair of assists to run her school-record total to 37.
Saint Rose generated a 15-4 advantage in shots, including a 9-3 differential in on-target threats, and also manufactured nine corners while yielding only one.
The Golden Knights had little to show for four corner kicks and three shots in the opening 20 minutes, until Barry struck with her 14th tally of the year with 22:26 gone by. Cuffari slipped a pass to Puopolo on the right side of the box that the latter sent across to Barry who drove it home in stride.
The game stood 1-0 at intermission and the River Hawks (11-6-4) were subsequently able to generate a bit more pressure in the second half, although the Golden Knights still controlled the pace that allowed them to add an insurance marker with 71:14 elapsed. Puopolo collected a feed from Cuffari on the left side, and lined home a shot inside the far-right post.
It proved to be fortuitous as UMass-Lowell (11-6-4) cut its deficit in half with six minutes remaining when senior back Hannah Merullo finished a deflection off a corner. However, Saint Rose was able to hold its ground the rest of the way to punch its ticket to Sunday’s quarterfinal contest.
Between the posts, sophomore keeper Jessica Gerski recorded two saves throughout the afternoon for the Golden Knights, while freshman Jane Hatzikonstantis came up with seven saves for the River Hawks.
Saint Rose has now outscored its last nine opponents by a 32-2 margin since its lone defeat this season, a 3-0 setback at Merrimack back on Oct. 15. The Golden Knights have since defeated the Warriors 5-1 in the NE-10 championship game and 5-0 in last week’s NCAA tournament second-round match.