Nov. 20, 2009

Courtesy of St. Rose Athletics

The College of Saint Rose used its calling card of superlative defense and timely scoring to upend Franklin Pierce 1-0 in a third-round NCAA Tournament game on the campus of Siena College today. The Golden Knights (23-0-0) will now meet Indiana, PA (14-6-2) or California, PA (18-5-1) in a national quarterfinal game Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1:00 pm at Siena.

Junior midfielder Amanda Deck scored her team-leading ninth goal of the year with less than eight minutes remaining to lift Saint Rose. The Golden Knights also benefitted from some stellar play in the backline as junior backs Kelly Guerin, Katie Whiting, and Coco Ebersole; along with freshman defender Meagan McKinney and senior keeper Shannon Murphy kept the nation’s seventh highest scoring offense off the board.

“Coco and our backs played so well, especially in the second half when we were able to limit their opportunities to serve the ball into their own third of the field,” said Saint Rose head coach Laurie Darling Gutheil.

The Golden Knights, ranked #2 in the final regular-season NSCAA/Adidas Division II Poll and one of only two remaining unbeaten or untied teams (West Florida) in the nation (NCAA II), outshot #20 Franklin Pierce (18-5-1) by an 11-6 margin, including 8-4 in the second half. Saint Rose also generated 11 corners kicks, and yielded only three to the Ravens.

The game had all the markings of a one goal affair although Saint Rose controlled the flow of play throughout the majority of the contest. Several chances went for naught until sophomore midfielder Kimberly Morton set up Deck with a beautiful cross into the box from the left flank. Morton ran back to receive a throw in and created room that allowed her to find Deck in space. Deck promptly dribbled twice and ripped a shot from 12-yards that bounced off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net.

Franklin Pierce responded with pressure in its offensive end, but a Saint Rose defense that entered the game second in the nation with a 0.27 goals-against-average was once again up to the task.

In the early going, the Golden Knights had several opportunities to remove most of the drama thanks in part to five corner kick chances. Deck had the most dangerous threat when she got in the air for a header that ricocheted off the crossbar in the seventh minute.

“I told our players to remain positive and to keep their focus. As long as we were getting chances, a goal would come,” said Darling Gutheil.

One did come to fruition, and it proved to be plenty. Murphy was not called upon to make a save, although she did an outstanding job controlling the box and helping her partners in the back keep Franklin Pierce senior midfielder Gabriela Demoner, who entered the game tied for first in the country with 32 goals, from getting a shot-on-goal. At the other end, sophomore Jocelyn Leon came up with five saves, all in the second half.