Oneonta State 2, Hamilton 1



Oneonta State freshman Mary Velan (Stamford, NY/Stamford) did it again for the Red Dragons this afternoon with her second straight game-winning goal to left the hosts to a 2-1 win against Hamilton College today in the NCAA tournament sectional semifinals. The win for Oneonta (21-1-1) is its 20th straight and moves them into the sectional final tomorrow against Wheaton (MA) College beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Red Dragon Field. The loss for Hamilton ends its season at 15-2-1 with both losses coming to Oneonta.

"Games like this will only help us prepare for the games ahead," said Oneonta coach Tracey Ranieri. "Everyday we prepare as if we are playing in the national championship game."

The goal for Oneonta came on the ensuing action after three straight corners produced no opportunities for the Red Dragons. The ball was controlled by senior Tricia Jaeger (Baldwin, NY/Baldwin) in the midfield before putting a pass on the feet of Velan. Velan then took one dribble to her right and blasted a shot over the keeper's head into the upper left corner of the goal.

The Red Dragons needed the heroics from Velan again after Hamilton scored the equalizer just over four minutes into the second half. The Continentals actually capitalized on its first opportunity of the second half. The ball was loose at the top of the box when Hilary Gamble (Potsdam, NY) chipped the ball behind the Oneonta defense where sophomore Eileen Fisher (Skaneateles, NY) collected the ball. Her first shot was stopped by Oneonta keeper Laura Morcone (Mechanicville, NY/Mechanicville), but the rebound came right back to Fisher who put the rebound past Morcone for the 1-1 tie.

The closing minutes were played frantically especially for Hamilton as they looked for the tying goal. The Continentals nearly tied the game in the final two minutes when they had three shots from inside the box two of which were blocked.

The host Red Dragons scored its first goal on a throw in where junior Sarah Tauber (Valley Stream, NY/Valley Stream North) put the ball into play from the left flank. Her throw bounced inside the box where sophomore Leslie Small (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa) was able to flick it to Jaeger who was trailing the play. Jaeger got her head on the ball and put it into the upper left corner just by the outstretched Hamilton Keeper. Oneonta took its 1-0 lead and an 8-2 shot advantage into halftime.

Oneonta's 21 wins thus far ties its school record that they set last season winning the national championship. The Red Dragons and Wheaton have played each other only once before and that was a 3--2 victory for the Lyons in its own tournament in 2002. The winner of tomorrow's sectional final will advance to the final four scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 26 & 27 in Greensboro, N.C.

-- Courtesy Oneonta State