SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Misericordia earned a 2-0 victory against Brandeis in the NCAA quarterfinals at Ithaca’s Carp Wood Field.
“This means a lot to this program,” head coach Mark Stauffer said. following the victory. “We talked after the Amherst loss last season about the commitment to working for a year to get to the final four this year. I think this is awesome for the institution and for all of our student athletes. It lets them know that this can happen- that if you believe in it and work at it enough, the sky’s the limit.”
The Cougars controlled the play early in the game. In the fourth minute, Megan Lannigan finished a cross from Erin McGreal for her 10th goal of the season to give the Cougars an early 1-0 lead.
“Erin and I have been practicing that cross from down the sideline all season,” said Lannigan. “We’ve been waiting for that perfect opportunity to come, and we were able to execute when it counted.”
The Cougars continued to control play for the majority of the half. However, the Judges made a strong surge in the final ten minutes, nearly scoring when Dara Spital beat the Cougar defense and set a shot off the outside of the right post.
MU had a 9-6 advantage in total shots in the first half, but Brandeis held a 4-1 advantage in shots on goal.
The Cougars controlled the second half from the outset, holding an 8-1 advantage in total shots during the period and maintaining the ball on their offensive half of the field. After a Brandeis foul just outside the box in the 62nd minute, senior Laura Roney stepped in and bent the free kick past the Brandeis defense for her 14th goal of the season to give the Cougars a 2-0 cushion.
“I’ve practiced that shot from that spot thousands of times in practice,” said Roney. “I could hear Coach say ‘that’s her sweet spot’ to someone on the sideline, and even though we were hoping for a PK call, I got really excited when they spotted the ball. I knew exactly where I wanted to put the ball and was able to do just that.”
“It was a great match,” Stauffer said. “The girls worked hard from the start, knowing that we needed to give great effort from the very beginning. We did a great job of possessing and controlling play, and I our defense played very well for us.”