Nov. 23, 2008

From Mercyhurst Athletics

Box Score

West Chester, Pa. – The No. 17 Mercyhurst women’s soccer team fought through 90 minutes of tough playoff soccer, and came up just short, dropping a 3-2 decision to No. 21 Saint Rose in the NCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Championship Quarterfinal Sunday at West Chester. 
The Lakers erased two one-goal deficits during the match, only to have the Golden Knights go ahead for good in the 79th minute as Amanda Deck tapped a Chrsitina Cuffari corner kick into the Lakers’ net for a 3-2 lead, one Saint Rose held throughout the remainder of the contest. Mercyhurst committed a majority of its players to the attack, but the Lakers could not find the equalizer.
Mercyhurst ends its season at 15-5-4, as the Lakers made a tremendous run through the postseason. Saint Rose set a school record with its 20th win, and they will play in the NCAA semifinal Thursday, Dec. 4 in Tampa, Fla.
Trailing 2-1 late in the match, Mercyhurst broke through the Saint Rose defense several times for scoring chances and in the 76th minute it led to a corner kick. Jamie Schroter drove the ball far post for Sarah Powell to head home to tie the match at two goals apiece. The goal was Powell’s 24th of the season.
After a 1-1 first half, the teams played evenly, with each side fighting for momentum. Saint Rose took the lead in the 68th minute. Deck challenged Megan Macko for the ball 25 yards from the Laker net, knocking Macko to the turf and securing the ball for a two-on-one chance. Deck found Nicola D’Errico on the left side, and she blasted a shot past Mercyhurst keeper Rebecca Heintzman for her second goal of the game and a 2-1 Saint Rose lead
The first half saw both teams play with aggressiveness and a will to win, making hard challenges and
playing a physical style of soccer. The Lakers disrupted many Golden Knight scoring opportunities by tackling the ball away in the midfield, with midfielders and forwards going all-out to repossess the ball. This trend continued throughout the match.
The Lakers held control of play early in the match, recording the first five shots. Saint Rose then began to use their speed to probe the Mercyhurst defense. The Golden Knights capitalized early on, as Cuffari sent a low corner kick into the area. Deck touched the ball to D’Errico, who struck a shot into the net for the game’s first goal.
The Saint Rose goal would be the first of four goals to arrive directly from a corner kick, as each team struck twice from the set piece.
Schroter, dangerous on set pieces all season long but playing with a painful leg injury, was gutting it out during the first 27 minutes of play, and then the Lakers earned a corner kick. Schroter lined the ball up, sending it into the area where Braedyn Ordway headed a pass to Taylor Hilinski, who then headed the ball past Saint Rose keeper Shannon Murphy to tie the match at 1-1 in the 28th minute. The goal was Hilinski’s 15th of the season. Schroter came out of the game following the goal and returned to start the second half.
Late in the first half, the Golden Knights controlled the run of play, nearly scoring on a couple of occasions. The Lakers’ defense held, and the teams went to halftime tied at one goal apiece.
Five Lakers played in their last career game Sunday, playing with passion and intensity from beginning to end. Heintzman made three saves. Melander played center back effectively. Powell scored her 73rd career goal and third in this year’s NCAA tournament. Rehnert created offense on the outside while also chipping in defensively. Hailee Maiorano saw minutes as a reserve.
Schroter recorded two assists, her third multiple-assist outing of 2008. Her 16 assists are the most by a Mercyhurst women’s soccer player since Powell had 16 helpers in her freshman year of 2005.
Hilinski scored her first NCAA tournament goal. She also had an assist in the Lakers’ 3-0 win over Slippery Rock in the second round Sunday, Nov. 16.
Mercyhurst’s last NCAA tournament loss came Nov. 3, 2006 against Indianapolis, a game in which Powell scored her first playoff goal.
The Lakers have completed a successful campaign, reaching the quarterfinals while playing excellent soccer down the stretch. The team loses seven seniors, including four starters, who will be missed. Mercyhurst has a group of players in place that looks to carry on the winning tradition for years to come.