Nov. 14, 2009

Courtesy of Wheaton Athletics

MIDDLEBURY, VT - In her first collegiate contest in her home state, junior Emily Hough (Norwich, VT/Hanover) delivered both of the Wheaton College women's soccer team's goals during its 2-0 victory over Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on a rainy Saturday at Middlebury College's Dragone Field. The Lyons kicked off play in their 10th straight NCAA Tournament at the site of their first NCAA Tournament road trip, which they made in 2000.

Now 18-3-2, Wheaton advanced to Sunday's second round against the host Panthers, 6-0 winners over Husson University on Saturday. The teams face off at 1:00 p.m. with a spot in next weekend's sectional round on the line. The Ospreys, who were appearing in their eighth NCAA Tournament, ended the season with a 14-7-2 record.

In her first season splitting time between forward and back, Hough came through with markers in the sixth and 49th minutes, as she now has 97 points for her career. Sophomore keeper Lindsay Leddy (Warwick, RI/Wheeler School) made three saves, as the Lyons held a slim 10-8 advantage in shots while attempting five of the seven corner kicks in the game, including all four tried during the second stanza. Freshman Maria Dorris (Mantua, NJ/Clearview) also turned in three stops between the Osprey pipes.

During the first meeting between the teams, each of which earned at-large berths into the NCAA Tournament, Wheaton had a handful of opportunities early, with freshman Cassey Muse (Candia, NH/Central) nearly putting the Lyons on top in the third minute, but she was unable to get a foot on a cross near an open left side of the net. Soon thereafter, Hough provided Wheaton with the eventual winner, collecting a ball in the box and driving a shot off a defender and into the left side at 5:22. The marker snapped Richard Stockton's shutout streak at 325:17. In the 10th minute, the Blue and White again threatened, with Muse's redirection of junior Alessia Viscomi's (Newton, MA/Newton North) corner-kick shot hitting the far post.

Richard Stockton began applying more pressure during the second half of the opening stanza, including placing a long ball through the middle of the field that sent junior Leah Pocoroba (Galloway, NJ/Holy Spirit) sprinting toward net, but the striker narrowly had the ball taken away by Leddy before getting a touch. In the 33rd minute, Osprey senior Lindsay Roake's (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) free kick nearly cleared the wall but clipped a jumping Wheaton defender's head and was redirected wide left. Junior Shelley Gibney (Shamong, NJ/Seneca) also came close to knotting the contest in the 42nd minute, forcing a takeaway deep in the Wheaton end before sending her shot from 10 yards out just over the crossbar.

Hough almost tacked on another goal 1:30 before the break, but Dorris dove to cover the lower right corner and pounced on the ensuing loose ball before a rushing Lyon could get to it.

After Richard Stockton held edges of 6-5 in shots and 2-1 in corners in the opening half, Wheaton took command with Hough's early marker in the second stanza and a 5-2 advantage in shots as the rain began falling harder. Less than four minutes into the period, senior Lyndsey McManus (Marshfield, MA/Marshfield) drove a corner kick into the box, where Dorris came out to corral the cross. However, the slick ball slipped from the keeper's grasp, and Hough touched it with her left foot over the defense and into a vacated net.

During the 57th minute, Muse got her head on a McManus free kick but sent a try barely over the crossbar, and her chip off a breakaway in the 65th minute was denied by Dorris. In between the opportunities, Leddy kept it a two-goal game by rushing out of the net to cover up another ball the Ospreys sent long to a streaking teammate. Richard Stockton's final close call came with 13:30 remaining when freshman Amanda Altman (Beachwood, NJ/Toms River South) ran on to a free kick and sent her header into the arms of Leddy.